Business networking and the half-life of enthusiasm

Stefan Thomas speaking at a business networking event
Every time I speak or write about networking, and I speak to thousands of people a year, I ALWAYS cover the subject of following up with the people you meet. But it strikes me that maybe I’m not being clear enough about that message. It isn’t just that you need to follow up, but you need to do so quickly.

I’m writing specifically about the people who express interest in your product or service in your initial conversation or 121. You need to follow up with everyone, but here specifically let’s look at those people who might actually become clients or customers in the short term.

In their book “The Prosperous Coach”, Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler coin the phrase ‘the half-life of enthusiasm’, and it’s an incredibly important concept for us to consider in networking.

Essentially, if you have a conversation with someone and they express interest in your services, it is important not only that you follow up, but that you do so quickly, whilst their enthusiasm for speaking to you is still high.

During the conversation or 121, that person may have really loved what you had to say, and been really interested, even excited about working with you. But once they get back to work, and real life kicks in again, that excitement will start to wane, or something else will pop up to distract them.

In that moment, the person may have had an ‘a-ha’ moment. An attack of clarity where they can see exactly why working with you is precisely the right thing for their business, how working with you is going to fit into their schedule and just why they need to get on with it. But that feeling soon subsides when other things, such as clients, another bill to pay or an alternative and equally useful service pops up.

Whatever service you’re selling, always bear in mind that, particularly in the small and micro business world, you are in competition with pretty much everything else. A small business may have an amount of spare money available to invest in developing their business, but whether that is spent on business coaching, SEO, video production, social media training or any of the other available and attentive services will depend mainly on the business owners choice. And we have to decide how much influence we have over that choice.

We have to decide, when we truly believe in the value we offer, whether to take responsibility for moving the conversation forward, during the half-life of enthusiasm, or whether to leave it in the lap of the God’s. My choice, always, is to remove as many potential hazards as possible, and strike whilst the iron is hot, and that enthusiasm is as high as it can possibly be.

I do train this stuff, and my clients, when they choose to take my advice, can see their sales results in pricing significantly, because they start to take responsibility for the conversation, rather than leave it to chance or, worse, leave it to another suppliers who moves more quickly.

Stop being embarrassed about what you sell. Move quickly, positively and with confidence on every sales opportunity which your networking uncovers. Take responsibility for each step of your sales process and be ready to say ‘shall we go ahead?’ when the moment is right.

“I implemented one more thing from the Retreat and it has resulted in a new client which gives me a positive ROI within 6 days”
Claire McTernan – Employee to Business Owner

“within two months I went from an average of one client per month from networking, to five clients”
Samantha Rollins, Trinity Accountants