Following up – why you have to move onto their turf

A business networking event

I’ve been watching a few of my videos recently and have noticed I’ve used the expression “move onto their turf” when talking about following up after business networking meetings, particularly if you’re using social media to follow up.

I know what I mean by it but I should take a second just to make a better explanation.

People you meet at networking meetings are not immediate sales enquiries (at least, most of them aren’t, sometimes you get lucky). People you meet at networking meetings are contacts you can gradually move closer to so that you are there at the right time, when they have a need for your product or service, by which time they have got to like, know and trust you (sound familiar?).

The thing is, a load of people treat their networking contacts like immediate sales enquiries. So, having met someone at a networking meeting and had a general chat about their respective businesses over coffee, the temptation is to immediately send that person a load of information about your services, what you do, how much it costs, why you’re better than the competition.

But they’ve not come to the networking meeting to buy your stuff. They came to the networking meeting for the same reason as you, to promote their stuff and to meet other likeminded business people. They haven’t walked into your shop and expressed an interest in your services.

You see, this is crucial, because this is where often the first relationship goes wrong and also where people get disillusioned with networking.

People often tell me that they have followed up – by emailing their most recent contacts about their services and products – but that nobody ever gets back to them. Think about it: why would they? They are concentrating on their own business and their own life and, for a lot of people these days, the incoming messages through Email, Voicemail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype etc are just too many to be able to respond to each one personally. Particularly if that person is busy setting up a business.

The oldest sales training books in the world will tell you to scratch beneath the surface. Find out a little bit more about the person and get into conversation with them. That was brilliant advice before social media appeared and is even better advice now.

Keeping in touch with people via social media gives you the perfect opportunity to develop and nurture real relationships. People actively broadcast what is going on in their life on Facebook and Twitter, you can see which groups and communities they are active in on Google+ and LinkedIn. Instead of immediately telling them why they should buy from you now, move into their space and keep in touch on their terms.

I get accused, all the time, of being in the right place at the right time. That is because I make a determined effort to be in as many places as possible as often as possible. I am there when the opportunities arise precisely because I am there and it is possible, with effort, for anyone else to achieve the same.

If you’ve made a connection already through networking, if you keep that connection alive through more networking and social media, you will be in the right place at the right time when that person needs your service, or when the penny finally drops ¬†and they realise how they could use your service to make their business better.

Stop thinking in terms of what is important to you. Get onto their turf and make your contacts count.

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