How often do you make a new Best Friend (BF)? Once a week, once a year or very rarely? Don’t be ridiculous, I hear you say, nobody seeks to make new friends in that way. Yet I see people trying to make new BFs regularly at events and networking groups, working desperately hard to build that special relationship with the person sitting opposite them, having only been introduced 5 minutes previously. At the end of the event, what happens? Someone says, â€œI’ll give you a call next weekâ€ and 9 times out of 10 that call is never made. Can you honestly say that you have never failed to follow up?
I hate playing mind games â€“ they do no one any favours. Let me give you an example: I was recently in discussions with a potential new supplier of professional services; the meeting was positive and constructive and he followed up with a proposal by email within 48 hours of the meeting. We hadn’t agreed during the meeting what the next step would be because Christmas was imminent, so I read the proposal and then broke for the festive season.
Five weeks later I have yet to hear from this potential supplier again. How does this make me feel? Is he testing me to see how desperate I am to work with him, some sort of pre-vetting procedure? Or is my business really that far down the priority list and his business is that busy that he doesn’t need to follow up? Or, as I personally prefer to believe, he has simply forgotten, which means quite obviously that he doesn’t respect my business or me, in which case it will be unlikely that we do business together.
It’s just like the whole dating game, isn’t it? Showing all the correct signs, chemistry and desire on the first date and promising to call â€“ then not following up. The reason that I’m focussing on this story is simple, we have all failed to follow up when we give the impression of wanting to be someone’s new best friend. .
Time is so precious for us all â€“ we cannot afford to go to hundreds of meetings with random strangers on the off chance of finding the perfect match. We have to be selective, we have to disqualify or pre-vet those we meet with and then carefully select who we will invest in afterwards. How much time, effort and money are you willing to invest in every meeting that you have? If the number of meetings you are having doesn’t balance with the returns you are getting then you are FAFFing about being busy with the wrong people.
Example: 1 meeting a day takes on average two hours of your time = (when you include travel time before / after and research & preparation)
5 Meetings a week = 10 hours work
48 weeks in a year = 240 meetings completed per year = 480 hours =60 days work per year (on an average 8 hour day)
What is the conversion rate for these un-qualified non pre-vetted meetings? 1-10 or maybe more? 1-10 conversion rate = 24 proposals
Contrast this with your conversion rate for referred and introduced business. It is likely to be 1-3 or even better. To achieve the same number of proposals you would only have to do 72 meetings in a year = 144 hours work = 18 days.
So if you were to stop trying to be BFs with everyone you meet and focus on pre-qualified meetings or referred connections you could save 42 days effort throughout the year. Now that makes sense to me.