I’m sure you’ve read dozens of articles on networking tips.
Yet, there they still are, looking up at you with all their carefully designed logos, in neat rubber-banded stacks strategically placed across your desk.
Or, being really clever, you’ve hidden them away in the top drawer of your desk.
What am I talking about? Those pesky business cards from networking events -past & present, of course.
You know what you’re supposed to have done with them, don’t you?
Most people get hives thinking about the next step. What is it about follow up that makes people get stopped in their tracks?
This question reminded me of that tongue in cheek article written for The Onion a while back: Study: 89% of Networking Nonconsensual (http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-89-percent-of-networking-nonconsensual,18936/).
Obviously, job hunters have a different agenda for follow up than their entrepreneurial counterpart colleagues.
Is that what makes the difference? Having a big WHY and purpose to your follow up? Does wanting to find a job trump wanting to gain more clients?
What’s Your Big Why For Following Up?
If having a bigger WHY is the key differentiator, how can business owners and service professionals finally have a Follow Up Breakthrough?
There is certainly a lot of information on the topic out there. Top business publications and experts have all written best practice networking follow up tips:
- Business Week offered that regular follow up resulted in improved business. http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/tips/archives/2010/05/why_regular_follow-up_improves_business_perception.html
- Inc. Magazine offers wisdom on how to network and follow up to increase sales http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/08/how-to-network-to-increase-sales.html
- Ivan Misner, founder of one of the largest networking organizations in the world, Business Networking International, writes: What’s Your Excuse For Not Following Up? There isn’t one. In this article, http://businessnetworking.com/whats-your-excuse-for-not-following-up/ he even gives follow up scripts (which are completely flawed in my opinion – I’ll say why in a moment)
So if these tips are so practical, why aren’t people following up more? Why isn’t the follow up rate up around 90% instead of 9%?
I can tell you from personal experience that if I get a 9-10% follow up return from people after a networking event it’s a fantastic return.
It’s ridiculous really. All that time, effort, and money spent on networking and so little effort to make it pay off.
So what do I have to offer you that’s any different?
Networking Tips “The Rule of 3″ Makes Follow Up Foolproof
I developed The Rule of 3 to accelerate my own networking ROI. I’ve found it to be a foolproof method that I’ve used repeatedly to drive successful follow up results. It’s true – I’m a highly motivated networker. I have a very big WHY. Without a big enough WHY or purpose, even The Rule of 3 can fall short.
So ask yourself honestly: What’s the payoff for you in your follow up?
First let’s look at what’s in the way for most people.
The four main reasons people do not follow up consistently and with real commitment are:
1. They don’t see it as a necessity. That’s why it seems like a giant time burden. I guarantee if there were a million dollars at the end of every follow up, people would be following up 24/7.
2. People aren’t clear about which people they should prioritize in their follow ups. It seems like a bit of a crap-shoot so they do little or nothing.
3. People don’t really know what to say or how to effectively initiate a follow up, making something meaningful and tangible happen. If they don’t have a specific referral for someone, they don’t exactly know how to follow up to build the relationship.
4. People don’t want to look foolish or stupid. They are afraid of making a follow up faux pas so they don’t do anything.
Here are the 3 simple ways to create a solid foundation for “The Rule Of 3″ approach:
Step 1. Implement the 1st Half Hour Method. As soon as you put a networking event into your calendar, immediately block out the first half hour following it for follow up. Make that an absolute inviolable rule and get the follow up out of the way PRONTO. It’s included in the networking schedule, not an add on.
Step 2. Categorize & Prioritize. Categorize each person’s business card as an A, B, or C opportunity. The people with the most relevance to you, your business, you like the most, and the ones that have the best networks are A’s. B’s come second, and C’s are peripheral. A’s warrant face to face or phone meetings, C’s perhaps just a Linked In connection request.
Step 3. Use the Fortune Is In The Follow Up e-book for 33 ways and ideas to follow up with new colleagues. (Get the e-book here)
I provide 33 different ways to follow up with people. That’s a pretty big menu with all different levels of ease and simplicity. That can keep you in follow up action for quite a while. I also include scripts* for what you can say to people to brilliantly follow up with them so they can’t wait to meet with your or speak with you by phone.
* The reason I think Ivan Misner’s scripts are faulty is because they are too vague and unspecific. It leaves way too much control in the hands of the other person to figure out what to do next in building the relationship. That’s giving up your power and hoping your contact figures it out. In my opinion, nothing could be less effective.
You always want to be the proactive one in the relationship. That way you control how and when to move the relationship forward.
Now, here’s The Rule of 3 for Foolproof Brilliant Follow Up:
For every person you want to build a relationship with, make sure you implement at least one follow up action per month for 3 months from the list.
1 Follow Up Action per month x 3 Months = A Successful Thriving Business Relationship
If you do one thing to keep that relationship growing EVERY MONTH FOR 3 MONTHS, it communicates very clearly to your colleague that you are not just dipping your toe in the water. You really want to help him or her be successful. You care about the development of the relationship.
Put one action into your calendar EVERY month. Program it and stick to it.
Follow Up then becomes a snap and it’s all mapped out so you don’t have to think about it once it’s programmed into your calendar.
The Rule of 3 has helped me generate 5 figure per year clients, up-sell entry level clients into high end premium clients, and ramped up my value to my network like no other marketing effort, online or off.
Now, it’s your turn: Let’s hear YOUR biggest follow up struggle? Share below how can you use the Rule of 3 to have your Foolproof Follow Up Breakthrough.
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