Networking Heroes Never Make This Mistake

Networking reputations are in the spotlight at every networking event you attend. Make sure you don’t make this one big mistake.

We know that personal reputation is hard won, easily thrown away. So why do people think so little of their reputation that they dilute it each time they pass a lead.

Let me put this in perspective. If someone was to pass you lead at a networking event you would be pleasantly surprised and possibly, get excited. However, in my view, at a referral meeting like BNI (Business Network International), it could be seen as the lazy option and actually destroy your reputation.

Unlike ordinary networking meetings, BNI focuses on qualified referrals (personal introductions). When you receive a referral at a BNI meeting you can reasonably be assured that a) the person you are being introduced to known to be in the market for your product or service and b) they are looking forward to your meeting in anticipation (maybe excitement).

I don’t know about you, but if someone gives me an introduction based on this criteria, it’s something to be excited about. A genuine opportunity to do business and my reputation has been expanded upon by the person making the introduction.

A lead is merely the passing on of a name we ‘think’ might be an opportunity. Three important elements are missing. a) neither of us knows for sure if the person is in the market for my services b) they are not expecting my call c) they know nothing about me as the person making the introduction has not actually made a personal introduction.

When someone passes me a lead, especially one disguised as a referral, I make an immediate judgement on the person who has given it to me. I am either impressed with the effort they’ve made and for thinking of me or I judge the person to be either lazy or half-hearted. Experience has shown me that where a lead is concerned, a wild goose chase and frustration follows.

Someone’s reputation for trust and integrity is silently highlighted in everything we do. A hard won reputation, so easily thrown away.

My advice. Don’t pass leads, seek qualification and build your networking reputation.

rebecca crossRebecca Cross provides support for the BNI Dorset region as personal assistant to the Executive Direct, Paul Haley and as Director Consultant for a number of BNI Groups
Rebecca is also an Award Winning Virtual PA with a background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business.

She is especially looking to work with business start-ups, entrepreneurs and professionals who travel extensively  Linkedin Profile

How to Follow Up After a Networking Event

Follow up after a networking event is a real challenge for most people who attend them.

One of the great people I work with and help is Paul Haley, Executive Director for BNI in Dorset. He and I love working with some amazing people in a beautiful county. We get to meet some interesting business people and we both know how important it is to Follow up after a networking event.

Not always easy, I think you will admit.

A ‘thank you email or text’ is a pre-requisite, of course, but after that – well, it rarely happens.

The Social Networks are a great way to stay in touch and informed about what is important in people’s social and business life. I use Facebook for my social friends and Linkedin is perfect for business contacts I’ve made. A few minutes spent on either platform each day keeps me posted and able to respond with words of encouragement or advice.

After meeting somebody for the first time at a networking event you should always follow up with a thank you and a recommendation to connect on one or other of the social networks depending on the nature of your new ‘best mate’.

I’ve just discovered the use of the LinkedIn Relationship Tab. It’s an amazing aid to reminding you where you met someone and help you organising your notes and follow up, with timely reminders, if you wish to set them.

Jenn Herman article on How to Use the LinkedIn Relationship Tab to Improve Your Networking will help you as much as it has helped me.