When it comes to one-on-ones, F.U.

That stands for follow up. You can schedule all the one-on-ones humanly possible. Without following up on the action items discussed during your one-on-one, the entire meeting is pointless.

Last week’s e-newsletter talked about some of the musts for one-on-ones. One of those was concluding the meeting with next steps or action items. So, if you say you’re going to introduce the other person to somebody in your network that means putting a timetable on it—I will introduce Steve to Jonathan within three business days.

Part two of that timetable is if Steve doesn’t hear anything from me or Jonathan, then Steve should follow up with me and ask if I have done anything yet. This follow up on Steve’s part should be after three business days.

There’s two tips involved here. First, take action on your action items ASAP. As soon as you get back to the office if possible. Procrastinating on these things takes away from the positive momentum you will probably have from the one-on-one. It can also make you look like the person who talks a good game in a one-on-one but doesn’t back it up.

Second, if you don’t hear back from somebody after the agreed upon action items and timetables, do not be afraid to give that person a call and ask what’s up. We all get busy. There probably was no intent to neglect. Still, you should make the call to continue the momentum of the one-on-one and demonstrate to the other person that you are serious about passing leads and referrals. That said, make sure you have acted on your action items as well before making that call.

Think of the follow up as the bit on the old Seinfeld episode when Jerry went to the airport and found out his reservation for a car rental did not guarantee a vehicle.

“You took the reservation but you didn’t KEEP the reservation. And that’s really the most important part.”

As a great of a meeting as you might have had during the one-on-one, you have to do the follow-up in a timely fashion for it to have real impact. That really is the most important part.

Give a kind word…or more

The season of giving often puts us in an awkward position with clients and colleagues. Should you give a gift? Is a card enough? Will it make others feel like they have to give a gift or send a card? Valid questions but really not what the season of giving is and should be about. So, when it doubt, give a kind word.

Huh?

A testimonial or recommendation can also be a nice thing to do for a client, colleague, vendor or other people in your network. If writing is not necessarily your thing, then leave a Google Review for their business. The review doesn’t have to be poetry. Just the appropriate number of stars and your honest recommendation of their business or service.

Will that make the recipient feel a need for reciprocity? Maybe. Yet that’s not really the point. The idea is if you want to give a gift and its something you have been meaning to do anyway, the season of giving is as good a time as any to share the love, admiration and respect you have for the people in your network.

Click here for info on how to leave a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Secrets to a successful one-on-one

The secret is it is not much of a secret to having a productive one-on-one. As mentioned during the Two-Minute Drill at this month’s My Pinnacle Network meetings,there are some tried and true keys to conducting a successful one-on-one:

  • After you schedule the one-on-one be sure to confirm the meeting the morning of the appointment. If it’s a morning meeting, confirm the day before. Things come up and you want to be sure the meeting is a go. It also shows the person you are meeting with that you do value the meeting and his/her time.
  • KEEP THE APPOINTMENT. Pretty common sense but in running networking groups for several years now, we have heard of people blowing off one-on-ones. Just don’t do it.
  • Agree to a certain time period for the one-on-one and stick to a set time period (30 minutes to an hour).
  • Bring an “Ideal Client Profile” sheet, cards and collateral materials.
  • Don’t lose sight of the reason for the one-on-one – Developing a business relationship (personal stories and talking about share acquaintances is fine but don’t get sidetracked).
  • Allot equal amounts of time for each person to talk about his/her business and the type of lead/referral/introduction he/she is looking for (be wary of the person who goes first taking up most of the time).
  • Before you end the meeting, determine next steps/action items and a time frame. If you promise to make an introduction or share contact info, do so before the end of that business week or within two business days.

By following these guidelines, you give your one-on-ones some structure, which makes it a good use of your time and that of the person with whom you are meeting.

Why we forget the basics

As a writer, I sometimes run into a mental roadblock over thing that should be second nature. Basics like:

Is it who or whom?

Are all titles always capped or only in certain situations?

Compliment or complement?

That why having a handy style guide—hard copy and online—provides necessary reinforcement of things I already know. In networking, it’s also helpful to get an occasional refresher on the basics. An article on networking that I came across recently, the 59 commandments of Networking, offers reminders of some standard networking tips. Those include some basics like:

  • Focusing on passing leads and referrals rather than receiving
  • Coming prepared to each meeting and arriving early (10 minutes before meeting start minimum)
  • Regular one-on-ones
  • Following up on the action items discussed in those one-on-ones.
  • Being specific about the types of introductions and referrals you want
  • When making an introduction or passing a lead or referral, make sure to qualify. Nobody wants to call a lead or referral and that person is not expecting the call or e-mail.

The commandments that stood out the most in the group included: don’t expect to receive referrals right away and do not expect to get until you give. If you are a seasoned networker, you know how long it can take to build relationships to the point where giving and passing leads and referrals happens. That’s not to say it could not happen right away. It just usually takes time and patience and plenty of nurturing through regular communication at meetings, between meetings and keeping fellow networkers front of mind as you make your way through the course of business.

You can check out the full 59 by clicking here.

My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for November. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:

My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, November 1, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ACTSmart Training Center, 70 Corporate Park Drive, Suite 1225, Pembroke, MA 02359.

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, November 6, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, November 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Mansfield BioIncubator, 241 Francis Avenue, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Needham/Newton, Thursday, November 8, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Bullfinch Group, 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494.

My Pinnacle Network – Plymouth (Real Estate), Thursday, November 8, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Keller Williams training room, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth, MA  02360 (Ocean State Job Lot Plaza)

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, November 15, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

Only one B2B professional will be selected for each category. Those categories can be found at bottom of http://www.mypinnaclenetwork.com. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a My Pinnacle Network meeting before committing to join.

If you are interested in attending a meeting in your area, please contact Steven V. Dubin at SDubin@MyPinnacleNetwork.com or 781-582-1061 to RSVP. There is no charge to visit a My Pinnacle Network meeting.

One of the many benefits of a monthly networking group is that you have a month between meetings. That may sound like a Yogi Berra-ism. Yet the significance of having a month between meetings is you have a month of experiences to incorporate into your verbal brand at the next meeting. And that provides you fresh, new material to share with your networking group.

What can those stories include? How about?:

  • Who did you help during the past 30 days?
  • Did you land a new account? What was the story behind that? Why did they choose your firm?
  • Maybe you had a success with a particular customer? Or received a glowing testimonial?
  • Perhaps you have recently formed a partnership with a new vendor who will increase your capabilities to help your current customers and land new ones?
  • It could even be as simple as just doing what you do well and how that has helped your current customers.

There’s the old expression about how stories sell. Yet selling goes beyond new business today. If you provide your networking group with your success stories on a monthly basis, you add to their arsenal things they can share with their contact sphere. Quite simply, the more stories you share about the types of business you help and why your customers choose you, the more a networking group can help you.

All you have to do is bring “it” to each meeting.

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, September 4, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, September 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Mansfield BioIncubator, 241 Francis Ave., Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, September 6, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ACTSmart Training Center, 70 Corporate Park Drive, Suite 1225, Pembroke, MA 02359.

My Pinnacle Network – Needham/Newton, Thursday, September 13, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Bullfinch Group, 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494.

My Pinnacle Network – Plymouth (Real Estate), Thursday, September 13, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Keller Williams training room, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 (Ocean State Job Lot Plaza)

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, September 20, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184

My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for August. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, August 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Mansfield BioIncubator, 241 Francis Avenue, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, August 2, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ACTSmart Training Center, 70 Corporate Park Drive, Suite 1225, Pembroke, MA 02359.

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, August 7, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Needham/Newton, Thursday, August 9, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Bullfinch Group, 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494.

My Pinnacle Network – Plymouth (Real Estate), Thursday, August 9, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Keller Williams training room, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth, MA  02360 (Ocean State Job Lot Plaza)

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, August 16, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

Only one B2B professional will be selected for each category. Those categories can be found at bottom of http://www.mypinnaclenetwork.com. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a My Pinnacle Network meeting before committing to join.

If you are interested in attending a meeting in your area, please contact Steven V. Dubin at SDubin@MyPinnacleNetwork.com or 781-582-1061 to RSVP. There is no charge to visit a My Pinnacle Network meeting.

My Pinnacle Network recently announced a full slate of business-to-business networking meetings for July. My Pinnacle Network meetings are as follows:

My Pinnacle Network – Pembroke, Thursday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ACTSmart Training Center, 70 Corporate Park Drive, Suite 1225, Pembroke, MA 02359.

My Pinnacle Network – Westborough, Tuesday, July 10, from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m at Digital Federal Credit Union, 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA 01581.

My Pinnacle Network – Mansfield, Wednesday, July 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Mansfield BioIncubator, 241 Francis Avenue, Mansfield, MA 02048.

My Pinnacle Network – Needham/Newton, Thursday, July 12, 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Bullfinch Group, 160 Gould Street, Needham, MA 02494.

My Pinnacle Network – Plymouth (Real Estate), Thursday, July 12, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., Keller Williams training room, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth, MA  02360 (Ocean State Job Lot Plaza)

My Pinnacle Network – Braintree Third Thursday, Thursday, July 19, from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. at 100 Grandview Road, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Braintree, MA 02184.

Only one B2B professional will be selected for each category. Those categories can be found at bottom of http://www.mypinnaclenetwork.com. Prospective members are encouraged to attend a My Pinnacle Network meeting before committing to join.

If you are interested in attending a meeting in your area, please contact Steven V. Dubin at SDubin@MyPinnacleNetwork.com or 781-582-1061 to RSVP. There is no charge to visit a My Pinnacle Network meeting.

It’s the day after Father’s Day. For those lucky enough to still have their dads, we hope you got a chance to spend some time with him. If you have children, again, hope you spent some time on a beautiful day to do something together. If you didn’t, there’s always today, right? And tomorrow or the next day. In fact, you could argue that it’s more important to reach out to your dad on those days. Networking meetings have that same quality.

Yes, the monthly meeting is very important. Similar to a holiday, it brings us all together. Yet the success of a networking group and how it can best benefit you individually happens in the days after the meeting.

For example, you may have heard something in the elevator pitch of one of your fellow members or guests that made you think of one of your connections. It’s very important to follow up on that within a day or so of the meeting while it’s still fresh in your mind.

The same goes for one-on-ones, the lifeline of any networking organization. You should try to set up the one-on-one right after the meeting. Yet that’s not always easy to do as some people may have to leave right after the meeting. Anecdotally speaking, one-on-ones are more likely to happen if you set them up within 48 hours of the meeting. Otherwise, the idea of setting up a meeting takes its place among the many other things you need to do during the course of your busy work schedule.

So, you see, you can and probably should call Dad today. Just to say “hi” and thank him again for all he means to you. If your children did something special for, an extra hug the day after means just as much. And if there’s somebody you have meant to set up a one-on-one with and haven’t, here’s a reminder to put hat back to the front of your mind.

Happy Day After to all our Fathers out there!