After meeting that special contact you’ve been chasing for 6 months, nailing your follow-up is critical. After all, consider all that groundwork you put in so far…
- You’ve found her name or her position in the company,
- You’ve asked your other contacts what they know about her,
- You’ve read her social media profiles,
- You’ve made that all-important initial contact – and it went well!
So don’t stuff it up now!
The follow-up is often described as the most important part of successful networking. After making initial contact, so many people just ignore, forget or procrastinate until doing it becomes embarrassing. Don’t. It’s vital.
Here are few tips to help you along your way to the perfect follow-up.
First – Consider what you want from the next contact. Since your relationship is young, you don’t want to go for a large commitment from her. So how about just requesting a coffee date to learn more about each other’s businesses? That doesn’t sound scary, does it? And if, from Facebook or wherever, you’ve learned she likes skydiving then, turn the conversation so she can talk about skydiving.
Second – Let the time and place of the meeting be convenient for her. After all, if you want her to become a customer, she’ll know it and will be taking mental notes about how service oriented you are.
Third – When there, listen. Too many people feel they have to impress in order to get the gig so they begin this everlasting tale of how wonderful they are and list all the great things they’ve done. Yaaaaawn. Your job during this early stage is to ascertain if this person and you are a good fit for each other. To accomplish this, ask questions and listen. It’ll become clear.
Fourth – When asked, answer. If the questions don’t come you probably don’t want to work with her anyway because she’s self-absorbed. Anyone who isn’t as interested in you as you are in them probably won’t last long in a business relationship anyway and you’re better off out of there.
Fifth – Get this question answered…
“What problems do you have in your business?”
After you’ve gone through the process above you should have established some rapport. If so, she will relate this question to how the person sitting right in front of her may be able to help. Isn’t that why you’re there? If the problem is one you can’t solve, do you know anyone who can? If you put her in contact with someone who can help her, you’ve begun the process of building a store of goodwill. In time, this will come back. Don’t be impatient, networking takes time.
And finally – By the end of the meeting you will know if you like the idea of working for her. If yes, suggest another meeting in the future so you can develop an even deeper understanding of her business. If not, go have a hazelnut swirl ice-cream and celebrate your decision.
There’s something about hazelnut swirl. It’s comforting, don’t you think?