Business Networking Tips Part 5 - Preparing the Follow-Up Meetings
Following on from our previous article, we take a closer look at the fundamentals of this critical business skill. In this part, we explain about the type of venue to use for that all important follow-up meeting – and the importance of keeping score.
Networking Is a Numbers Game
The more contacts you make, the more exposure you’ll get to potential customers. And, as your networking skills improve, every event where business people gather could lead to lots of follow-up meetings.
So, What Makes a Good Venue for the Second Meeting?
One advantage of requesting a one-to-one meeting is that you can usually set the terms to your advantage. So, it’s a good idea to identify one venue for all your follow-up meetings – ideally, a conveniently central café that isn’t too busy or noisy.
By using the same place for every meeting, you gain what’s known in sport as ‘home advantage’ – a familiar environment where you’ll feel comfortable and in control. This will also help eliminate distractions; you’ll know what to expect, what people go there and how it’s all run.
Once you’ve found the ideal place, you can then arrange all your meetings there back-to-back. However, don’t be inflexible: if a promising prospect wants to meet at their own office, that’s a very good sign and it may be worth going out of your way.
Don’t arrange to meet in a pub. These days it’s not considered very professional. Also, you could face understandable resistance from members of the opposite sex. A twenty-minute chat over coffee is much more acceptable.
Remember to Keep Score
Once you’ve arranged all these meetings, keep a record of how many of them you convert into business. One in four? One in six? It’s good to know because it can help to make your income predictable.
For example, if your usual conversion rate is one in four and you’ve arranged eight meetings the following week, you can reasonably expect to secure two pieces of business, which can be very motivating.
The other reason to keep score is so you can know whether or not you’re improving. And, in the next part, we’ll look at the best way to convert this second meeting into business.
More Small Business Guide
Try these tips to build your contact list, improve your networking skills and grow your business.
Think of networking events not as one-off sales opportunities but as the foundations for new connections.