December 8, 2020
How many connections have you made in your professional career? Too many to count, I’m guessing.
Business professionals are constantly networking, meeting new people. We go to these events and go through the same spiel over and over again.
Many people complain that networking is not fruitful for them or their business. It’s not networking that’s not working, it’s the way you’re networking.
There are people who constantly go to networking events and meet new people. They feel they are networking to the best of their capability. They are shaking hands and getting business cards – isn’t that the name of the game?
The problem is that they connect with someone and if that connection cannot help them immediately, they forget about them and move on to the next. If this is the way you are networking, you’ll be correct when saying that networking is not working.
Those who get the most from their networking efforts are those who build meaningful relationships. Instead of worrying about meeting as many people as time allows, they worry about creating meaningful connections with the people they do meet.
Networking is not just about finding your next sale or a strategic partner. Networking is also about creating evangelists for your brand: people who will go out and spread the word about your amazing services.
Who is more likely to be an evangelist for your brand and recommend your services: someone you spoke to for fifteen minutes at a networking event and then never again, or someone who you communicate with regularly and have built a rapport with? You know the answer.
Keeping In Touch
People remember to follow up with the connections who they think may be prospects. For some odd reason (sarcasm), they seem to forget the connections who are less likely to close a sale.
By keeping in touch with all your connections, you will build stronger connections with them. In turn, new opportunities will arise and you will create evangelists for your brand.
Have authentic check-ins with your connections. Every time you check-in with a connection is called a touch. Touches shouldn’t just be conversations set up to seek out referrals. Touches are about truly getting to know somebody and building rapport.
Bring up things you had spoken about in your past conversations with this connection. This shows the other person you genuinely care about getting to know them and aren’t just searching for business.
Give one of your past connections a call. Say “Hey, I just wanted to check base with you.” No business talk allowed. Your past connections will be shocked by your genuine care about them.
There is no right or wrong amount of touches. It depends on the person you are connecting with and the relationship you have with them. Just make sure you are checking in with these connections often enough that you are always on their radar when an opportunity for a referral pops up.
Touches aren’t limited to phone calls or zoom calls. The more out-of-the-box your touch with a connection is, the more you will stand out in their brain. Hiking, golf, and bonfires are all ways I like to connect.
The way you check-in with a connection should be true to you and true to your connection.
One of my favorite ways to check-in with my connections is to bring people together. By having group meetings or events, you will get the opportunity to get touches with multiple people.
Group meetings or events give you the chance to facilitate introductions between your connections. If these introductions lead to meaningful relationships between these connections, they will be forever grateful to you.
The new way of connecting is the video conference. I could not tell you how many Zoom meetings I have had since the pandemic first hit. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
With Zoom, we are able to make touches very easily and in a short amount of time. In my experience with Zoom check-ins, it is better to schedule shorter meetings especially when there isn’t an agenda for the meeting besides building rapport. Longer meetings often lead to stalling and putting on a façade.
My Biggest Pet Peeve
Those who keep a finger on the pulse of their connections most are those searching for a sale.
Oftentimes, it’s an obligation or procedure to follow up with somebody because they lost a sales opportunity and want to get it back. It’s a protocol, an obligation.
It’s usually obvious when this is the case. When you are keeping in touch with your connections, purely for the sake of checking-in, it will feel more genuine, and more meaningful relationships will evolve.
When having the first meeting with a connection, ask what their intentions are. If they are just looking for a sale, it is probably not worth it to waste both your time and theirs. If they are looking for a genuine connection and understand that both parties need to put in work for that to happen, the meeting is definitely worth your time.
Surface level relationships will not be as fruitful. Both parties must understand the commitment needed for a meaningful connection.
My biggest pet peeve when connecting is the automated email or LinkedIn pitch. This isn’t an authentic touch and is actually a turn-off.
It may take a bit more time and effort to make a genuine touch or check-in with your connections, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
It’s time we stop looking to build a huge network of connections we barely know. We must instead look to build meaningful relationships with our connections.
Let Connections4Hire help you build your network of tailor-made connections to take the next step in your business development.