Are You Building Your Connections Or Throwing Them Away?

By Kimberley Borgens

Networking is crucial for women entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. Building strong connections with potential customers, mentors, and collaborators can open up new opportunities and help you gain valuable insights to grow and succeed. However, networking alone is not enough; to truly benefit from the contacts you’ve made, you need to follow up effectively. Unfortunately, many people struggle with this crucial step because they’re afraid of being a bother or don’t know how to approach follow-up without seeming pushy or desperate.

Today, I’m bringing all this into perspective by providing practical tips and strategies for following up with your networking connections so that you can focus on relationship building in business without letting potential business opportunities fall through the cracks. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, this article will help you take your networking and relationship-building skills to the next level!

Building Connections Through Networking

Networking is a valuable tool for women entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. By building relationships with potential customers, mentors, collaborators, and other entrepreneurs, you can gain valuable insights and connections that can help you succeed. However, successful networking requires more than just showing up at events and collecting business cards. Here are some tips for building strong connections through networking:

  • Attend events where your target audience hangs out: Relationship building in business is a lot like dating. No matter what kind of relationship you want, it’s important to attend events where the people you’re looking to connect with are likely to be. Research events in your area that cater to your industry or target market and make a point to attend regularly. This will give you the opportunity to meet new people and become a familiar face in the community.
  • Introduce yourself confidently: When meeting new people, it’s important to be confident and clear in your introduction. Be prepared to talk about your business and what sets you apart from the competition. Have an elevator pitch ready that briefly explains what you do and how you can help others.
  • Be genuine: While it’s important to be confident and professional, you should also strive to be genuine and authentic when networking. People can tell when you’re not staying true to who you are, which can be a turnoff. Show a genuine interest in others by asking questions and actively listening to their responses. This will help you build a more meaningful relationship and potentially lead to future business opportunities.
  • Offer value: Finally, it’s important to remember that networking is a two-way street. Instead of just thinking about what you can get from a connection, think about what you can offer in return. Offer your help or advice, share useful resources, or connect people who might benefit from knowing each other. Adding value to the relationship will make a positive impression and increase the likelihood of future collaboration or referrals.

Following these tips can build strong connections through networking to help you grow your business and achieve your goals.

Why People Don’t Follow Up

Networking events can be an excellent opportunity to meet new people and build valuable connections. However, the real challenge begins after the event when it comes to following up. Unfortunately, many people struggle with following up effectively, and potential business opportunities often fall through the cracks. Here are some common reasons why people don’t follow up:

  • Fear of being a bother: One of the most common reasons people don’t follow up is the fear of being a bother. They worry that by reaching out to someone they’ve met at an event, they’ll be seen as pushy or desperate. This fear can be paralyzing, and it often leads to missed opportunities.
  • Lack of time: Another common reason why people don’t follow up is a lack of time. Following up effectively takes time, and many entrepreneurs are already stretched thin. They may feel like they don’t have the time to follow up properly and therefore don’t follow up at all.
  • Uncertainty about how to follow up: Finally, some people don’t follow up simply because they’re not sure how to do it effectively. They may not know what to say in an email or how long to wait before reaching out. This uncertainty can be overwhelming and may lead to inaction.

It’s important to recognize and address these obstacles to effective follow-up. In the next section, I’ll provide strategies for following up with your networking connections in a way that is effective and professional.

Following Up With Your Connections

Following up with your networking connections is essential to turning those initial conversations into meaningful business relationships. Here are some strategies for following up effectively:

  • Personalize your message: When following up with someone you met at an event, it’s important to personalize your message. Remind them of your conversation and the context in which you met. This will help them remember who you are and make your message more relevant.
  • Provide value: In your follow-up message, offer something of value to the other person. This could be a resource, a helpful connection, or a thoughtful piece of advice related to the conversation you had. By providing value, you’ll establish yourself as a useful and generous person, which can build trust and a stronger relationship.
  • Be persistent: It’s important to be persistent when following up with your networking connections. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. Follow up again in a few weeks or a month. Remember that people are busy, and it’s possible that your message got lost in their inbox. By following up persistently, you’ll increase the chances of getting a response.
  • Use multiple channels: When following up, consider using multiple channels to get in touch. If you sent an email and didn’t get a response, try reaching out on LinkedIn or Twitter. Using multiple channels will increase the likelihood of getting a response and show that you’re committed to building a relationship.
  • Keep track of your follow-ups: Finally, it’s crucial to keep track of your follow-ups. Use a spreadsheet or task manager system to track who you’ve reached out to and when. This will help you stay organized and avoid dropping the ball on key opportunities.

Having a solid foundation for your follow-up system is vital when it comes to relationship building in business. By following these strategies, you can effectively follow up with your networking connections and build stronger relationships.

Tips For Effective Follow-up

Following up with your networking connections is integral to building your business. Here are some additional tips to make your follow-up process even more effective:

  • Set a timeline: You’ll need to create a schedule when following up. Decide when you’ll follow up and stick to that timeline. This will help ensure that you remember to follow up and that you’re not too persistent.
  • Be concise: When writing your follow-up message, be concise and to the point. People are busy and don’t have time to read long emails. Keep your message short and focused, and make sure that the key points are easy to understand.
  • Show enthusiasm: When following up, it’s important to show excitement for the relationship. Let the other person know you’re eager to continue the conversation and explore potential business opportunities. This enthusiasm can be contagious and can help build a stronger relationship.
  • Be patient: Following up can be a long process, and patience is important. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. Keep following up, and eventually, you’ll get a response. Remember that building strong business relationships takes time and effort.
  • Be authentic: Finally, being yourself is important. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or pretend to be more interested than you really are. Be honest and genuine, and let the other person know why you’re interested in building a relationship.

These tips can improve your follow-up process and build stronger business relationships. Remember to stay organized, persistent, and authentic, and you’ll be on your way to building a thriving network of connections.

Overcoming Common Obstacles

Building connections through networking and following up can be challenging, especially when facing common obstacles. Here are some strategies for overcoming these obstacles:

  • Time constraints: One of the biggest obstacles to following up is time constraints. People are busy and have a lot on their plates. To overcome this obstacle, be respectful of their time by keeping your follow-up message concise and to the point. Also, try to schedule a follow-up meeting or call in advance so that both of you can make time for it.
  • Fear of rejection: Another obstacle to following up is the fear of rejection. People often worry that they’ll be bothering the other person or that they’ll be rejected. To overcome this obstacle, remind yourself that networking is about building relationships, not just getting an immediate sale or outcome. Also, remember that rejection is a natural part of the process and doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person doesn’t like you or isn’t interested in working with you.
  • Lack of confidence: A lack of confidence can also be an obstacle to networking and following up. People often worry they’re not good enough or have nothing valuable to offer. To overcome this obstacle, focus on your strengths and the value you can provide to others. Remember that everyone has something worthwhile to offer and that building relationships is a two-way street.
  • Difficulty remembering: It can be challenging to remember all of the people you meet at networking events, especially if you meet a lot of people. To overcome this obstacle, take notes after each conversation or use a business card scanner to capture their contact information. Also, be sure to follow up as soon as possible after the event to help jog your memory.
  • Lack of follow-up plan: Finally, a lack of a follow-up plan can hinder effective networking. People often struggle with what to say or when to follow up. To overcome this obstacle, develop a plan in advance. Decide what you’ll say in your follow-up message, when you’ll follow up, and your goals for the relationship.

Overcoming these common obstacles can make your networking efforts more effective and build stronger business relationships. Remember that this is a long-term process; success requires perseverance, patience, and a positive attitude.

Mastering Follow-Up for Successful Networking

Networking is a crucial part of building and growing a business. Following up with connections is essential for turning those initial conversations into valuable relationships. Successful networking requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. With the right mindset and approach for relationship building in business, you can build a strong network of connections that can help you achieve your business goals and support you in your journey as a successful entrepreneur.

So go out there, attend events, meet new people, and follow up with them in a meaningful way. You never know where your next business opportunity or partnership may come from. Good luck!

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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