This is the final part of our trilogy on networking one-to-one. Having prepared for and then completed your one-to-one meetings we're going to look now at the follow-up. What can you do to be sure that your one-to-one was effective?
ensure that your one-to-one meetings result in a win-win victory for you both
The best measure of any networking activity is the increase in the flow of work to your business. So in order to truly judge whether your one-to-one was effective you need to consider the results that it yielded. These results may not be instantaneous and unless you are working closely with your partner they may not even materialise.
Before you can consider the results you need to complete the final phase - the follow up. This is, in part, about making sure you do your bit for your partner, but it is also about giving them a little nudge to make sure they are doing their bit too.
Review your notes from the meeting itself. Make sure that you know who was doing what and check the deadlines you set for these things to happen. If you are in any doubt then contact your partner; an essential part of an effective one-to-one is showing that you are committed and keeping to the promises you have made - if you cannot remember these then being pro-active is the best way to go.
Then follow these 4 tips: -
Keep your promises- It may seem simple - but if you have promised to warm up a contact then you will need to speak to that contact. It's important to keep your commitments as it builds your credibility. If you do everything for them that you have promised, by the date you set, then they know that any work you do for their contacts will be done as per the brief and within the time limits. This is an important part of any referral relationship.
Keep in touch - You may discover that a contact you wanted to warm up is in the middle of a major crisis when you ring. Or the contact you were hoping to refer has actually just purchased the product in question. It may seem as if these things are dooming your one-to-one to failure - but so long as you keep your partner in the loop and explain what is going on, no harm will be done. Any business owner knows that these things happen; by keeping them informed you are still showing your commitment.
Referrals - having had a good one-to-one meeting you should have a better understanding of what makes a good referral to your partner. So make sure any referrals you pass are good ones, don't just turn up with a referral so you can "Return as the King" to the meeting. Nothing damages your new found credibility like passing a duff referral. If you are still not sure then ring your partner up and say "I've come across this business opportunity, would you be interested in talking to them?" It shows you are keen to find good work for them which will cement the relationship even if the work is not forthcoming immediately.
Reminders - an effective one-to-one isn't all about you, however you have little control about whether the work is going to be coming your way. By doing the above you may help remind your partner that they have promises to keep too! If that is a little too subtle for your partner, there is no harm in ringing to see how they are getting on. You are more than entitled to ring for an update if you haven't heard anything, after all they made the promises in the meeting. Regardless of whether the referrals are forthcoming or not, it's good to keep in touch and find out how things are going. You never know, your call might just jog their memory and remind them of a referral they could warm up for you.
An effective one-to-one is about building and then maintaining a good relationship where both parties are willing and able to help the other find business. The results may not be instantaneous, but if you are fostering an environment whereby you can ask for help and work together to find business then you are on the right track. Any relationship takes time to build and needs to be maintained, so don't think that you've had your one-to-one and that is it - keep working at it.
For more information about the networking events we run in Milton Keynes, Northampton and Bedford please call Oaktree Networking on +44 (0) 845 618 2902 or check us out on Facebook. Our format includes 3 mini one to one's so you can identify those people it would be good to have a subsequent in-depth one to one with.
"I would like to thank you particularly for making an exceptional effort to put me in touch with a new client on the day I was busy doing fittings in my studio. Buy going the extra mile to reach me, I was able to get in touch with the new client, and myself and my fitter saw her the same day. She placed an order for over 3900. This would not have happened if I'd been relying on my answerphone!"
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