Last week in my mastermind group, the question of “What does it take to be a great networker?” came up. When the facilitator turned to me for my answer, without hesitation, I said: “Follow-through.”
So, now I’d like to elaborate on what I mean by follow-through.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FOLLOW-THROUGH
In sports, such as golf, baseball, soccer, etc., follow-through is the part of the stroke following the striking of a ball. Whether the strike is with a bat, the foot or a club, the principle is the same: If you stop the swing at the instance of striking the ball, the results will be less than intended. However, if you continue on with the swing, the results could mean a goal, a home run or better yet – a hole-in-one!
It's that way in business networking also. Or in marketing of your business, for that matter.
The follow-through is essential. Often, it can mean the difference between simply meeting someone, and actually conducting business with that person.
For context, networking is not just meeting someone at a Chamber of Commerce event or a “Business After Hours” mixer. Networking can come in the form of a referral, a website lead, or even a social media connection.
One of the ways I personally make a ton of networking contacts, is from online connections through a variety of channels.
This regular column, my weekly podcast “Positively West Virginia,” my company blog, and my LinkedIn connections all provide a steady stream of new contacts into my sphere of influence.
LEVERAGING THE FOLLOW-UP
So, how can one leverage the connection and “follow-up” in an effective manner? Well, there are a lot of right answers to that question.
To demonstrate, I’ll share one way I’ve found to effectively follow-up with my weekly podcast guests.
Almost every one of my guests on the interview show are “strangers” to myself and my company. But, these business leaders in West Virginia commit to spending 40 minutes with me on a podcast journey to share their successful business story. It’s been really interesting to see how easy it is for my team to schedule these interviews with me – a complete stranger to them. I’m convinced they see the value in sharing their story with thousands of listeners and eagerly accept the invitation.
Following every episode interview with my guest, I send them a personal letter, a copy of my book Marketing Matters, a flash drive with some samples of my video work, and my business card, all packaged in a really sweet gift box.
My goal with this follow-through is simple – to add value to the fledgling relationship and to offer something of value to help people I meet.
You’d be surprised how this one tactic stands out and keeps the line of communication (and relationship-building) open and sets a positive tone for future business.
This is just one example of how to follow-through with someone you encounter through a business networking channel.
HOW THE FOLLOW-UP CAN HELP YOU
So, how can you take action in the form follow-through to ensure your “swing” doesn’t stop short of reaching the full potential? Give it some thought and see what creative ways you can develop to make sure you’re putting the ball in play – and not just coming up short.
As I continue on my mission to help people with their marketing and advertising across the Mountain State, I want to thank you for reading. If you have questions on this topic, I’d love to talk with you. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org