by, Kim Shiver, M.Ed, Speaker, Communications Strategist & instructional Design Consultant
Hey, small business owners. I mean anyone from a solopreneur consultant to a hair dresser, someone running a small team or anyone selling a network marketing product like Young Living, Mary Kay, or Doterra. What are you doing to build your connections?
Every person you meet and exchange business cards with is not a connection. They are a contact, and in truth they many not even be a contact. They may be a business card.
How can a person be a business card? If all you have is their business card and they don’t respond when you reach out in emails or calls, you have a business card.
Once you have a second, even an email acknowledging that they enjoyed meeting you, then you have a contact and can move forward to build a connection.
How to Create Connection
Step 1 – Follow Up
After you have met a person, follow up is step 1 for making a connection. If you have a big pile of business cards sitting on your desk, they aren’t helping your business, and they are creating clutter in your environment. You must follow up with people you meet to turn the contact into a deeper connection.
The fallacy of the follow up is that creating connection is as simple as that single email sent after a networking event saying “Nice to meet you.”
Connection requires a relationship. This is why networking groups highly tout the one-on-one meetings of their members. It isn’t for the members to become each other’s customers. It’s so that they learn about each other and build relationships to help each other find customers.
Step 2 – Getting to Know You
If possible, set a time to get together and get to know the person you met. Take in as much as you can about them and their business. Find areas of shared interest, and synergies between your businesses if they exist.
Step 3 – Stay in Touch
To keep connections, stay in touch. Email and social media work, but a hand-written note stands out beautifully.
If you take the time and effort to build and maintain connections, you’re likely to find the cash register continuing to ring.
Side Note – A Work in Progress
Don’t be discouraged if this is a skill that takes time to build. As a business owner, writer, and consultant people often approach me as though I am the master. Actually, I frequently write about things where I am still a work in progress. Creating connections through follow up is one of those areas where I still work daily.
For a special video on creating connections that convert to cash, visit KimShivler.com/connections
Kim Shivler, M.Ed. is a speaker, communications strategist, and instructional design consultant. She helps businesses increase sales, improve customer service, and build effective teams. Learn more about her programs at KimShivler.com