Thursday, May 18, 2006

The ABC's of Networking: U is for Urgency

The best time to build your network is now!!! Do not procrastinate on building business relationships, as you never know when you will need the assistance of others to boost your career.

As you focus your attention on building a network of professional contacts, you will have the opportunity to meet many fascinating people. However, meeting someone does not automatically establish a strong mutually beneficial just means you know them. It is important that you plan for follow up with those that you meet, and that you do so in a timely manner. Timing is urgent.

Creating a real network is not done at networking events. These events are just a tool to put interesting business professionals in the same room. The real connections are made in the follow up. To establish a network involves multiple points of contact between you and others.

Too often we meet others and do nothing to initiate the next step until it is too late. Have you ever run across the business card of someone you met months ago and thought..."Dang, I never followed up with them"?. It happens all the time. People wait to make contact and then the opportunity is gone.

Follow up must be done promptly. There is a real urgency for you to strategize on just how you will make contact with new contacts. An email, handwritten note, or a phone call cannot wait for more than three days, or you will be a distant memory in their mind.

I prefer sending a handwritten note, and I make the time to do them every Wednesday and Friday. I mail notes to anyone that I have met in the previous few days with whom I would like to get to know better. I do this not just to people I meet networking, but also any prospective client that I might have called on for the first time. Very few people send handwritten notes, so the effort is noticed. But if you do not make it a priority to send them within 24-48 hours, then they you will most likely never do them at all.

Treat all aspects of networking with urgency.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer


JamesPr said...

What do you say in your notes? Can you give a few examples of client, colleague, competitor, etc?

Dan McComb said...

Good points. To that I would add, it's important to follow up not only with people you met who can immediately sell something to or get business from. The power of networking to me is finding people, often in the same industry as me, whom I can potentially collaborate with. I've gotten more business in the long run from those type of relationships.

Unfortunately, most mainstream business networking groups exclude people from the same profession from their group, preferring to embrace the competitive model as opposed to the collaborative one.