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“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” ~~ Mark Twain

We have all heard the title.  How many have considered the impact and developed systems to assure compliance with this simple—yet key—concept?

In fact, the number one trait of successful networkers is to follow up.  In some cases this alone separates you from the competition.  Have you ever called tradespeople and never gotten return calls?  When someone finally gets back to you they have a tremendous edge over the others.  Certainly you would never willingly refer the others in order to protect your own credibility.

Some of your referral partners will test you in this area—and rightly so.  Simply doing what you say you will carries tremendous benefit while failure to do the same carries an equal (or even heavier) damage-factor.

Build follow-up into your day-to-day activities, as well.  I had a friend who was exceptional at this and often refer to her in my training.  She asked for an introduction to someone I knew but not very well.  However, her solution for this person made sense to me so I put them in touch.  She kept me informed at each step along her journey.  Specifically calling me as soon as my email introduction went out, before she called him, after she called and got his voicemail, before she followed up with an email, after she followed up with that email, before she called to set an appointment, after she called to set that appointment, before she went to the appointment, after she went to that appointment, after he became a client, and after he had been a client for thirty days.  These were simple, brief voicemail messages that kept me informed at each step in her process.  If, along the way, I had run into the gentleman being “courted” I knew exactly what was happening.  She protected my relationship with him.  I also knew that she valued the introduction and had not forgotten who helped her.

Regular follow-up after the initial event is also a differentiator.  Everyone’s situation is unique (so tailor this to yours) but let’s consider a ninety-day follow-up plan over the first year of a relationship.  If you work with someone this week—late-April—then look for follow-up moments in early July, October, January, and April next year.  If you consider this, the process is not difficult.  All you need is a method you will actually use.  Accordion files, hanging files, envelopes, electronic reminders…there are many ways to do this.  The key, of course, is to actually pick one and follow it.  Based on the current date, I would plan to contact anyone I meet this week at or around July 4th and Halloween, for example.

Once in place, this keeps you current with many.  Coincidentally, this week I spoke to two people that I have not seen in a few years.  Our relationships were established with frequent, meaningful contact in the early days and less frequent communication over the years.  In both cases, though, they had moved away and we lost touch.  One lives in Connecticut and the other in Wyoming and I was fortunate enough to be able to help both.

© 2013 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

April 21, 2013 at 8:08 am

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