NOTE: The following is Part 1 of an article I have released for general distribution across the EZineArticles.com network, which accepts articles from people who want to see them republished at no charge to the author. It's a strategy I'm using to build my business; you should consider doing it yourself. But that's not what the article is about -- I'll cover that in a future entry. Here is today's story:
Follow Up for Success, Part I
Networking and dating can be a lot alike, and yet very different.
In many cases, dating starts out with a crowded room of people who may be looking to connect with one another. The room could be a bar, a bookstore, or most any other place. Factors like volume, brightness and decor are all over the place, and willingness to meet others varies wildly from person to person.
While everyone in these situations may not be looking to make a connection, two people who do meet can exchange ways to get in touch with one another after the evening draws to a close. Usually it's a phone number; or nowadays, an e-mail address. Hopefully, the number isn't to a local massage parlor or police station, and the e-mail doesn't get you subscribed to a spam list.
With networking, a room that's (hopefully) filled with people wanting to do business is de rigeur. The noise level is so loud, it is sometimes hard to hear. Sometimes such functions are in a bar; they can happen most anyplace, though. People are bumping into one another trying to get to the other side of the room, but are instead stopped by...other people who want to network. Business cards and other printed material are flying left and right; it's enough to give an environmentalist an enteric-coated migraine. Aside from that environmentalist, everyone else seems to be having a good time. You get the feeling that business is being conducted in the room.
You can see the similarities and differences. The one big unifying element in both dating and networking? If one party doesn't follow up with the other, nothing gets done - ever.
Following up on a call or lead for a sale falls under the same category. You might think, "It'd be silly not to follow up with this kind of contact," and you'd be right. It does happen, though. Quite a bit, actually. It's not necessarily because the call or lead is purposely "blown off." More often than not, a lead or call slips between the proverbial cracks and is lost.
For networking, sales-related inbound calls and referrals, developing a system for following up with your contacts is key to your ongoing success.
In Part II (coming later this week), I'll bring you the system I've successfully used. Stay tuned for it!