Employee Engagement

Avoid Being a Networking One-Hit-Wonder

Here’s a question that comes up all the time: How do I have more than one meaningful conversation with my network? You have a great conversation, you’re mind-melding, you’re talking about amazing things, and everything goes great! You hang up and then you’re like… ok, now what? You briefly spoke about following up but you hear crickets. Sound familiar?

If you’re a networking one-hit-wonder, you’re not alone!

This happens all the time. So many people make the effort, figure out who to talk to, get scheduled on their calendar, have one conversation, and then don’t know what to do next. You realize that people are busy and you don’t want to be intrusive or sound awkward, yet you have a job to do and, in many cases, it’s to find your next big role. Networking is one of the most valuable things you can do for your career, as we explain here, so it’s important to keep your communication and connections strong.

 I used to struggle with this all the time until I started paying attention to successful salespeople. What is it about these people that make it very natural to move the ball forward in a way that feels authentic and, honestly, not annoying?

You need to take a different approach

Here’s what they do, condensed into 4 important steps, that I want you to think about adopting into your own networking strategy.

They follow up consistently. I’m betting that when you have a conversation, you send one email and that’s it, thinking; “I don’t want to be a bother.” Well, the fact is that people are always busy. Whether it’s a sales cycle or you’re in self-promotion mode, it’s no different. People need to see something seven or eight times before ‘seeing’ it. You need to find a way to be consistent in that person’s life without being a pain in the butt.

They focus on the audienceThis is something that salespeople have done with me which I really resonated with. Whenever they reached out to me, it was all about me and what I wanted. If you always show up with your hand held out, looking for a favor, people are going to stop responding to you. So, find a way to make it meaningful for them and still get what you want as well.

They are excellent connectors. I’ve found that good salespeople have often connected me to great people and ideas. They may or may not have anything to do with what we were talking about but they were connections to things I was definitely interested in. Find a way to be that super-connector for your networks.

They understood my business. Salespeople would come to me sharing information about trends, things they had learned, or to ask my opinion about something I knew, which, of course, I always loved to offer. Take the time to truly understand your networks’ businesses and reach out to them with beneficial information or asking them to share their perspectives on things you know they’d love to talk about.

Putting it into action

When you think about how to keep your networking conversations alive, take one of these four steps out of what I like to call, ‘The Really Good Salesperson’s Playbook,’ and see which, if not all of them, resonate with you.

Finally, how can you successfully execute all of this? First, remember to always plan before the conversation. Make sure you don’t just show up and wing it. Also, you want to make sure that you find a way for the conversation to be meaningful for both of you. The more you work towards an anchor of commonality, the more meaningful the dialogue will be and the easier it is to have a future conversation.

And then, remember to offer help. Offering to help is a great way to remain consistent and present in someone’s network. Discover your area of value and offer your ability to help in any way you can. When you have a strong strategy and plan, you can find a way to never be a one-hit-wonder again.

Need more help becoming a networking pro?  Head over to YouTube and subscribe to the CWC Channel so you never miss a thing.  We offer much more useful information to help you grow the career you’ve always dreamt of. Remember to follow us along and we’ll see you in the Career Winners Circle.