I’m often asked why it is that I am so adamant in ‘keeping up appearances,’ when networking …
Sure, not everyone needs a reminder. We meet weekly, with the reasons why regular contact is important being recited to the newer attendees.
It’s natural enough to feel that the main part of the exercise (engagement) has been achieved. The many ‘positives’ most experience when departing a meeting full of new acquaintances looking to know more about us, pitching your own for business and thoughts of great new contacts, possibly new business, it can leave us euphoric.
So why do so many fail to follow up?
For the uninitiated, they are often thinking … “I’ve met those in the room, swapped cards, they know what I do and all I need to do now is wait for the call …”
Now most of us understand that today’s networking simply doesn’t work this way. Sure, we’re all our own best sales representatives, but we’re not selling, we’re cultivating the broader relationships.
Sadly for some of our new friends, we rarely see them again, although those who take time to understand ‘the process’ are soon back in the familiar space for the follow-up. All looking to rekindle the initial engagement and some content with pacifying that fella (myself?) who keeps dropping hints regarding the start time … we’ve all been in a very similar position.
So why are we so adamant about the follow-up I hear you say? Why should networking be such a chore?
No bore networking, please …
So let’s look at what’s been happening since the last meeting. Business updates, results of one to one engagement, not least the featured presentation – all of which are components of a structured environment developing the formula for success. Familiarity, stronger relations, trust.
So for those thinking of coming along when ‘time allows’ (time is business, right?) It’s important to realise what happens when we choose to leave it too long. What happens is that the advantage of the initial meeting is lost, people soon forget you and as they make those important business decisions they’re choosing to sit down with those who they know best …
When we’re absent we miss that ‘bigger picture,’ it’s an exercise in relationships and it takes much longer to realise our goals when we don’t know our network well enough.
Those who invest in regular networking recognise that occasional visitors are simply being lousy gardeners … sitting back to see what comes of the initial engagement. They’re all the while developing nothing but the reputation as the ‘frantic networker,’ seen at most dates on the networking calendar for just about any opportunity that just may present itself … they don’t do the network reputation-landscape much good at all.
For me, I’ve not seen a garden produce anything in abundance without regular maintenance, how about you?