Networking is like being a spy. You study your target’s movements and position yourself at a cocktail bar where you just happen to trip as they’re passing – striking up a conversation about your work, how good you are at it and why they should like you. Smith. Jane Smith.
Maybe it’s not quite like that. Maybe it’s more about exposure.
There’s something called the familiarity principle, or exposure effect. This psychological phenomenon suggests that the more someone is exposed to you, the more they’ll like you.
You can apply this principle to your networking too – by pulling a 007 and keeping yourself top-of-mind in your network. But it’s not enough to meet people. You need to develop a relationship. And that begins with the following Three Steps to 007-Style Networking:
Set the scene.
After meeting a new contact, send them a “Nice to meet you” or “Thank you” email within two days. Remind them of who you are and where you met and refer to something you spoke about. The idea is to bring you to front of mind again – and build a relationship from there.
Attach a link to an article in line with their interests, or perhaps a recipe to your Ouma’s milk tart (Remember? You mentioned it when you met.). You want to add value to their lives. Remember, this is not about a sale. It’s not about you – it’s about building a relationship. People work with people they get along with, not people who attack them with sales pitches.
Make a date.
Suggest that the two of you set up a coffee date to talk more about what they do – people like talking about themselves. Caution: This is still not an opportunity to make a sale. It’s a chance to learn more about that person’s industry and the people in it. Chances are, you’ll take away more from the conversation than just a new friend, but don’t push it.
People don’t follow up enough. So, by following up immediately (while the target still remembers who you are) and scheduling time to meet again, you’ll be setting yourself apart as a go-getter who’s serious about the stuff that you do. Whatever it is.
Still uncertain? Get started with this simple and incredibly handy follow-up email template: http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2014/03/13/how-to-write-the-perfect-networking-follow-up-email/.