Managing: The Basics of Following up With Your Network

by | Jul 30, 2018

by Ben Hess, Managing Director, ThirdPool Recruiting

If you’re working in the real estate industry, you are (by default) in a relationship business.

Naturally, this applies to real estate agents.  But, it doesn’t stop there.

If you’re an owner, CEO, part of the executive team, first-level manager, recruiter, coach, or any other position, your success will significantly depend on your ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships.

One of the critical competencies to maintaining relationships is periodic and thoughtful contact with a large number of people in your network.

These connections (often called follow-up) must be proactive, and the individuals who are high performers at this task typically use some kind of framework.

Today, we’ll take a look at one of these frameworks and see what we can learn from a networker extraordinaire.

A Professional Networker Shares

John Corcoran is a former Presidential speechwriter and now makes his living as an attorney, professional networker, and small business consultant.  He has a bunch of great ideas (most of which he has tested himself) that he frequently publishes on his website.  Check it out if you’ve never heard of his company.

Part of John’s consulting model involves introducing his new contacts to vendors who’ve helped him grow his business.  During one of these recent introductions, he revealed some details on how he and some of his “professional networking” friends do their follow-up.

This dialog was recorded in a YouTube video that you’re welcome to view.  A quick warning: The presentation is couched inside a sales pitch for a CRM software product called Contactually.   If you’re not interested in this product, read the summary below or jump off the video at the 8:50 mark.

A Framework for Following up

So, how do professional networkers follow up successfully?  Here’s the framework John uses.

Make it personal.

Following up with someone generally means getting some kind of message or information (email, text, picture, phone call, etc.) to an individual.  The communications don’t have to be long and detailed (it’s often better if it is not), but it does need to be personal.

If it’s not personal, it’s not helpful.

Deliver Value Through Content

You’ve probably used this technique, but you may want to double-down on your efforts.

It’s meaningful to find relevant information for individuals and personally deliver it to them. This shows you’re thinking of them and have concern for their personal well-being.

To do this effectively, think short and quick.   People generally don’t have time to read or digest things that are long and overly detailed.

Deliver Value Through Making Introductions to Your Network

By introducing a new person you’ve just met to someone in your network shows trust.  It demonstrates you see potential in the new contact, and it’s a thoughtful thing to do.

The tricky part is making sure the introduction is mutually beneficial.  You don’t want to burden your most trusted friends and network contacts with people who are just takers.

While this won’t always work, try looking for situations where the new contact can help those in your existing network.  This is backwards to how most people think.

Work a System

This principle applies to all things in the world of business.  Make sure you don’t forget to apply it to the building and maintaining of your network.

There are many great CRM tools on the market.  Find one and use it.

For some homework, do an inventory of how you’re building and maintaining your network.  Take extra time considering how this framework could apply to your recruiting process—this is where it’s needed the most and seldom applied.

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