How many times do we go to networking events, exchange business cards with several individuals and then… not follow up! We are all guilty of this to a lesser or greater degree and yet we have made the initial investment in the design, print and exchange of cards, attending the function and introducing ourselves, so what goes wrong?
Is it our typical British reserve? Why do we feel so awkward about making follow up contact? Could it be that our expectations are so high that it stops us from thinking about the most appropriate approach? Is it that we feel that it’s obvious these people need our help so they’re bound to contact us?! Dream on!
At The Plum Consultancy we believe it’s a combination of managing expectations, getting the balance right between making a friendly approach and not being ‘a pain’ and understanding that you need to build a relationship first where trust and respect kick in before any new business might be forthcoming. We don’t believe in the ‘follow up numbers’ game, where if you make enough follow up attempts you bash the recipient into submission (we understand the average used in some well-known sales techniques is 16!) – how dreadful is that.
Build relationships first; get to know the businesses you believe will benefit from your products or services and make a friendly follow up where you are prepared to give a little and not expect business straight away. After all, what’s a business without the people and getting to know those people is what makes the world go round. But you have to be disciplined about follow up and not cry off because you are just too busy to do it. If this is your normal excuse then you have undermined the whole point of attending networking events in the first place. Focus on the businesses you’re really interested in and spend your time following them up; not everyone’s card is worth pursuing. And, do your homework – get to know what makes a company tick and identify how your products and services will enhance their offering – it will make your approach far more significant.
Making the most of networking is a long-term commitment – get it right and it will be very rewarding; expect too much, too quickly and you will be disappointed and disenchanted.
For further information and to take advantage of our free 30 minute consultation on all aspects of marketing, advertising, PR and media solutions, please contact us at www.theplumconsultancy.com