If “80% of success in life is showing up,” as Woody Allen said, then the next move seals the deal.
Clients pose the question “what now?” after meeting someone at a networking event or having a meeting with a prospect. At this point during the coaching process, clients talk about what they learned from the people they met by using their EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and CIQ (Conversational Intelligence).
The illuminating pieces of information clients noticed during networking or a business meeting impresses me. “I could tell he was focused on relationships, because we talked about our families before talking about business,” one MBT client told me. Another said, “She was all business and told me to cut to the chase and tell her what results she could expect and in what timeframe.”
These bits of information guide clients toward making good decisions regarding how to follow up and follow through. Big kudos to these clients for understanding the individual so they can craft the next step and conversation. However, when I ask how much time has passed since the client spoke with their contact, the answer often is, “That conversation was great, but it was six weeks ago.”
A key differentiator for successful people is their commitment to following up. Business people are quite literally leaving relationships on the table by not following up in a timely way. What is timely? Within 24 to 48 hours. If more than five business days has passed, there needs to be a new look at how to reengage the contact. Follow up is a differentiator because most business people are not disciplined about doing it.
Here are some tips:
- Before you attend a networking event or schedule a meeting with a business contact, determine your goal for meeting with them. What do you want to achieve? If you do not have a goal, don’t attend that networking event or schedule that meeting. Schedule something that moves you forward toward your goals.
- If the meeting is one-on-one or with a few people, start an e-mail to them before you go to the meeting. Subject line could be: Thank you for your time today. When you get back to the computer, finish it with specific information to move the conversation and relationship forward.
- If you are attending a networking event, create an e-mail that you can personalize later. “It was great to meet you at fill-in-the-blank event today. I wanted to follow up on our conversation about fill-in-the-blank.”
- If you received a task that will take more than 24-48 hours, send the follow up acknowledging that. “I am putting together the information you requested and will have it by fill-in-the-date.”
- Before you send any e-mails, or text messages, or LinkedIn messages, think about what you learned using your EQ and CIQ. What is the best way to communicate with this person? Craft the message using that information.
Most importantly, follow up and follow through!