You know you need to follow up after your business networking meeting by organising a 121 with a couple of the attendees. But what exactly should you be doing in that session? Here’s FIVE things that a good 121 should entail.
1. Get to know the person
You’ve heard the phrase “People buy from people” right? Well, this is what your 121 meeting is all about. Getting to know the PERSON.
So, whatever you do, don’t use this meeting to sell. Talk about whatever you feel comfortable with: your hobbies, family, career to date, friends, holidays etc. And don’t panic if you get to the end of an hour and you’ve just chatted and had fun. It means you’ve started to build a relationship and just ‘clicked’ with each other – which is always a great foundation. And, it gives you an excuse to have another 121 in the near future.
Listening is one of the most underused communication skills. People are often too focused on getting across what they want to say and forget to listen to what the other person is telling them. Try to make the time each of you is speaking equal and when it is your time to listen ensure you maintain eye contact, be attentive and don’t interrupt until they’ve finished. Another great thing to do is to summarise some of the things they have said so that you can show you’ve been paying attention. This creates a great first impression and shows that you are genuinely interested in them.
3. Identify some ways you can help each other
Once you’ve used some of your allocated hour in getting to know each other, a good way to solidify this new friendship is to spend the remaining time coming up with some proactive ways you can help each other.
You’re at the early stages of developing a relationship, so you’re unlikely to be ready to make referrals for each other yet. However, there might be someone in your network of contacts that you think this person might also get on with. So offer to introduce them so that they can enjoy having a coffee too. For example, you might know someone who has a similar target audience as the person you are chatting to or they might share a business interest.
Another way to support each other is by making a conscious effort to engage with each other’s social media posts to help increase your reach. You could even do a guest blog for each other. Alternatively, recommending a book or a podcast can be beneficial or even offering to take them along to another network event that you attend. All of these things can help that person on their business journey and your proactivity will make you memorable.
4. Build trust and credibility
The 121 meeting is where the trust and credibility building happens. We simply can’t do that from listening to a 1 minute pitch! If we want people to refer us, we’ve got to give them a lot more. Our new contact needs to get to know us as a person really well AND they’ve got to feel confident in the way we behave as a business. This only comes from lots of interactions and proving that you are reliable and professional in what you do. Only then will they start to send their precious customers and suppliers in your direction.
5. Arrange a follow up meeting
Like Rome, relationships are not built in a day. It takes time and you need to expect to have more than one 121 meeting. If you’ve started to hit it off, then arrange something for 6-8 weeks time to continue getting to know each other and identifying potential introductions that are going to positively impact their business growth. In time, when you’ve established credibility and trust, you’ll find these introductions start to be upgraded to high quality referrals and you’ll have developed something sustainable and lasting. All from one simple follow up coffee.
Want some genuine 121 meetings?
Following up is something we focus on within our meeting format at The Growth Community. Everyone in the meeting gets the opportunity to say who they’d like to have a 121 with before they leave our networking sessions. If you’d like to try out one of our relaxed, but very purposeful meetings we’d love to welcome you. Find a group here.