This is a rebroadcast of Episode 200.
Dr. Misner accepts no excuses for not following up with new contacts you meet at big networking events. To make it easier, he’s providing two templates, one for the “B” list and one for the “A” list.
Always remind the person who you are and where you met.
Follow up Template for “B list” contacts (those who may become valuable contacts in the future but not right away):
My name is John Smith, and I’m the consultant who met you the other day over at the chamber. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed our conversation–and it sounds like you’re really doing well and staying busy.
Anyway, it was good talking to you, and if I can help you out in any way, please let me know.
Follow up Template for “A list” contacts (those who might become new clients or referral partners right now):
My name is John Smith, and I’m the consultant who met you the other day at the chamber event. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed our conversation and was hoping I could learn a little bit more about what you do.
I’m thinking we can get together for a quick cup of coffee. That way, if I run into someone who could use your services, I can point him in your direction. How does next Tuesday morning sound for something over at Starbucks?
Again, great talking to you, and if I can help your business in any way, please let me know.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 200 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan, and congratulations on Episode 200.
200. Woohoo! That’s just amazing.
Isn’t that great?
I’m real excited. You know, I remember back almost four years ago, doing the first podcast. I remember thinking, I wonder what this will be. Will there be value? Will people listen to this, you know. And do it weekly? Oh my goodness. How is that going to happen, especially as I am traveling more and more. I have to tell you, Priscilla, that I am really glad that I did this. I think it has been a great tool for BNI members all around the world to maintain their education in the program. It has been my honor to do them, and I appreciate everything that you do with it. You have doing it for the majority of the last four years.
Thank you, Ivan. I love doing it. I think it’s really terrific for the members to actually hear your voice and learn a little bit about you and how you think and get educated by you personally. I think it’s great.
Thanks. I appreciate that. Talking about education for me. I wanted to mention before I get into the main topic today, which is following up, which is a follow up from the last week’s podcast. I just want to mention that I have a new name for my blog. My regular blog has been at networkingentrepreneur.com for a long time, but we’ve revamped it and we’ve renamed it. Networkingentrepreneur.com still points to my blog, but it’s now called Business Networking with Dr. Ivan Misner. Business Networking. The reason we changed the name is we really wanted to dominate the phrase “business networking” within BNI. That’s really the bottom line for the name change.
All of my blogs, my hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of blogs- I think there are close to 400 blogs or more- are all still there. Nothing was lost. It was all transferred to the new name, Business Networking. So if you have a chance and are listeners to my podcast, please go check out BusinessNetworking.com, which is my regular blog.
Great. How many blogs do you think you have written?
Close to 400, I think. And I am going to start doing video blogs up there, too. I’ve got a few, and I am going to start doing probably at least two a month on that website. So if you’d like to check it out, please do, at BusinessNetworking.com.
Alright, so I want to follow up with last week’s podcast. Last week’s podcast was about sorting out who’s who. When you meet people at a networking event and you kind of just do almost a business card triage, you sit down and you say, who are the critical people that I need to connect with. That’s a good phrase. I should have used that last week, Priscilla. Business card triage.
Who do I need to meet immediately? Who are people I want to connect with immediately? Who do I want to stay in contact with? And who are the others? I do think you need to connect with all of them, but certainly the A’s and B’s. We talked about different ways to do that. So back if you haven’t listened to last week’s podcast and listen to the “Sorting Out [Who’s Who]” function.
What I want to talk about today is your excuse for following up, and let me give you some templates to use for following up. You should put them in your own words, but this will give you some ideas. If you are listening to the podcast, you don’t have to write what I am saying down. Remember there is a full transcript of the podcast, so you can just cut and paste the transcript and use it.
So let’s start. What’s your excuse for not following up with new contacts at networking events. I don’t think it really matters what your answer is to that because I am here to tell you that the correct answer to that question is there is no excuse for not following up. All excuses are equal. Follow up is the key to being successful at networking. You know, if you meet them but then you don’t follow up with them, why even go to the networking meetings?
So following up is absolutely critical. We all know that networking without following up can equal a big waste of time. However, a lot of networkers still find every excuse under the sun not to follow up. Most of these reasons are either that they are not sure how to do it or they don’t have the time to do it.
So as I promised in last week’s podcast, I am going to give you a couple of follow up templates. These will work whether using email or a handwritten note as I talked about last week. They’ll make it a no-brainer for you to follow up with new contacts so there are no more excuses. Remember, it’s okay to put these in your own words. These are just ideas.
Follow up template for your B list. These are the people that you want to make sure to have contact with but you don’t see that you can help them immediately. They are not a potential client immediately, but you do want to stay- remember, you never know where great referrals can come from. So these are people that you are interested in. You just don’t know where that connection would be. They may become valuable contacts in the future, but just not right away. So here’s how you do it:
You open it up.
My name is John Smith, and I’m the consultant who met you the other day over at the chamber. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed our conversation and it sounds like you are really doing well and staying busy. Anyway, it was good talking to you, and if I can help you out in any way, please let me know.
That’s it. Short, sweet, simple. Nice to meet you. I hope our paths cross again. That’s always a nice phrase to us. I hope our paths cross again. Those are people that you want to make the connection with but there is really no need for you at this point to set up an appointment with them. Now, if they write back and say that’s great and they want to get together, do it. But that’s my suggested template for the B list.
So here’s my follow up template for the A list. Those are people whom you think might become new clients down the road, but remember, don’t make this a sales call or a sales meeting. These are people that might be clients down the road, so you definitely want to get to know them. And they may be referral partners. Remember, oftentimes, your best source of business is people who give you referrals, not just closing deals, not just the sales that you make. Referral partners are really important. This is your A list of contacts. Here you’d say:
My name is John Smith. I’m the consultant who met you the other day at the chamber event. (Or whatever other event it was that you attended.) I just wanted to say I really enjoyed our conversation, and I was hoping I could learn a little bit more about what you do. I’m thinking that we can get together for a quick cup of coffee. That way, if I meet someone who can use your services, I can point them in your direction. How does next Tuesday morning sound for something over at Starbucks? Again, great talking to you, and if I can help your business in any way, please let me know.
So there are two templates, Priscilla, that I recommend. You use these follow up note templates and they can provide you with a great base for building relationships with new contacts and staying in touch with people that you meet at these big networking events.
One more quick tip. Regardless of whether you choose to use these templates when writing follow up notes, always be sure to first remind the person of who you are and where you met so your note doesn’t get instantly discarded or so they don’t sit there scratching their head thinking who is this person? That’s happened to me. People have written me a note saying, “It’s great meeting you. I’d love to get together.” I’m, like, okay, where did we meet? When was it? Where was it? Put it in context. That’s really important whether you use my template or use something yourself. Always include the context.
Tell me. What would you put in the subject line?
The subject line is great, especially. It’s an important thing if you are talking about an email. I’d recommend that you- let’s say for example in template A, I’d put in, for example, “Nice to meet you at the chamber event on March __.” That way, when they see the email come in, they can immediately see that it’s from you and that you met them at the chamber event. That alone might put it in context for them. Then they’ll also know it’s not just spam, but this is somebody that I actually met and they’re much more likely to read it.
Keep these emails or letters short and sweet. Don’t give them a doctoral dissertation. Usually people don’t read long emails. So give them something short and sweet, and with the A list, an opportunity to respond back with a yes or no to I’d love to meet with you. In other words, give them an action opportinity.
Okay. Now what if you are so busy that you don’t have time to meet with them? Then you’re in trouble, right?
You, the person writing the letters or the person you’re sending them to?
Well, either but the person who’s writing the letter.
Well then, if you don’t have time to meet with the people you’re meeting networking (A.) Why are you networking and (B.) go hire somebody to help you do these things. I mean, if you are out there trying to drum up business, then this is where the rubber meets the road. Meeting with people to connect with them about doing business is where the rubber meets the road in business networking.
Now let’s say somebody contacts you that you don’t really want to connect with. Let’s say it’s somebody from the C list that we talked about, the other list that we talked about in last week’s podcast. Not the A or B. Sometimes, you’re not real motivated to necessarily meet with them. You know what a lot of people do is they say, “You know, I’d love to meet with you. What are you doing next Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m.? I have a networking meeting that I’m going to. I’d love to invite you to that.”
Right. Exactly. That’s a good idea.
It’s a great way to serve two purposes, especially if you’re short on time. This isn’t necessarily somebody that you saw a good connection with, but they seemed professional or whatever. They might be the perfect profession for somebody else in your BNI group.
That’s a great idea.
That’s all I have for today, Priscilla.
Alright. Well, thank you.
Our 200th episode.
Very good, Dr. Misner. Well, I think that’s it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.