‘Follow Up’ – What’s that?

by Charlie Lawson on April 1, 2014 · 0 comments

BNI has done studies of its members, and all have come up with the same conclusion. The most common trait of a good networker is that they follow up.  But what does that actually mean?

Two Women Shaking Hands In An OfficeHave a look at these typical networking scenarios:

  • You got chatting with a business person at a mixer networking event.  There was some common ground between your two businesses, and you agreed when chatting that it would be a good idea to meet up for a coffee.
  • At your networking group, you delivered a great 60 second presentation on your business, telling a story about how you helped one of your clients. Someone came up to you afterwards, said they were interested in what you’d said, and gave you their card saying ‘call me’.
  • In a conversation with someone at the end of a networking meeting, they show an interest in your business, so you promise to email them over some information about your latest offers.
  • While in a 1-1 meeting with a contact, it becomes clear that you have a particular client that your fellow networker would be keen to be introduced to. You have enough credibility with the client in question, so you agree to make the introduction.
  • After your weekly networking group meeting, one of the fellow members tells you that they know someone that could introduce you to your dream client. All they’d need is to understand how to start a conversation about you, so the pair of you agree to have a chat on the phone.

In each situation, the action, or follow up, required is simple. They range from sending an email, through making a phone call either to set a time to have a coffee, to setting up an introduction. But what would happen if you didn’t complete the follow up action in each of these scenarios?

To answer this question, let’s remind ourselves of something called the VCP process. What this process tells us is that when we’re networking, we hope to set up a Profitable relationship with our fellow networker, but to get to P, we need to go through V and C first. V is for Visibility: we meet someone, we get to know them and their business. C, or Credibility, is where we get to find out if someone is any good.

When it comes to follow up, we are still in the visibility stage. Follow up is the first test of credibility. At this point, we’re not actually being judged on the technical part of what we do (i.e. are we a good accountant?). This is really a test to see what sort of person we are: and in that I believe we can find the true definition of follow up.  Follow up is doing what you say you’re going to do, nothing more. If you say you’re going to send an email, send it! If you say you’ll call to set up a time to have a coffee, make the call! If you say you’re going to make an introduction, make it!

So, asking the question again, what would happen if you didn’t complete the follow up action in each of the scenarios above? The answer is your credibility will suffer, meaning you have less chance of reaching a state of profitability with each of the people involved. Let’s face it, each one of those situations suggests a great deal of opportunity for your business: you’d be mad not to complete the follow up!

How do you follow up?

Charlie Lawson
Charlie Lawson – BNI National Director and Word of Mouth marketing expert, whose passion is to see BNI members succeed in their businesses.

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