When networking you should always use FORM

When networking you should always use FORM. We will explain what the acronym FORM means and how to effectively use it while networking.

F – Family
O – Occupation
R – Recreation
M – Money

When people network they often think networking is all about getting their card in the hand of someone else while offering up their 30 second elevator pitch. Unfortunately this is the FASTEST way to scare a prospective customer or business partner away.

Our research has found the most successful networkers make the meeting experience all about the person they meet and not about them or their product.  NEVER dump and throw-up about you or your product in a first meeting, you want to create a little mystery and intrigue about yourself and your business.  Once this process is followed the people you meet will want to learn about you and what you have to offer. Not sharing to much about yourself and what you do leads into the perfect opportunity to schedule a follow-up meeting. This will give you more time in a one on one to learn more about each other.

We know this is a difficult concept to adapt to and it is a total mindset change for most but trust us and give it a try. You will find this sifts out the takers and the people who are not interested in being helped or helping others and it will bring in the ones you can really help. You want to be seen as a GIVER, never come off as being too hungry and remember, NOT EVERYONE IS GOOD TO NETWORK WITH, you will have to let some go. Sift through the noise and focus your attention on a few you feel good about. If you try to network with everyone you will spread yourself too thin so just let the dogs go!

Take the time to get know 4 key areas about anyone you meet. Let’s talk about each of the 4 FORM areas:

F – Family
Get to know a little about their family, this can start by asking if they are married or do they have children.

O – Occupation
Ask them about what they do (do not just follow the motions, be a GREAT LISTENER and be interested)

R – Recreation
After you learn about what they do then you could lead off with something like this: Your business sounds very demanding, what do you do on your time off to unwind, any hobbies? (You might share something about your hobby)

M – Money
Money is always a great learning area. Let them know you have a large referral network and you are always looking to add to your list.  Ask them a little about how you might be able to help them, what kind of a referral is good for them, what is their perfect customer.

Some of these questions will prompt the person you are meeting with to ask some of the same questions to you, RESIST ANSWERING, try to move on and mention you are short on time. Ask if you could have their contact information and try to schedule a follow-up meeting to talk when you have a little more time. This will go against everything you have ever learned but trust us, their is gold at the end of the rainbow. 

Once you have their contact information YOU MUST FOLLOW-UP. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take the FORM information you have learned about the contact and send them a personalized “NICE TO MEET YOU CARD” in the mail. Be sure to include a few things you learned about them from the FORM information. This will make an IMPRESSION on them and it will set you apart from every other networker who thinks  just sending an impersonal email will make an impression. If you only follow-up with an email most of the time the email will get moved to their trash folder and you will never get a follow-up appointment.  Very few people understand the art and power of a personalized card so be different, send a real personal card in the mail, IT WILL MAKE YOU STAND OUT.
  • Make a follow-up call to schedule a meeting (the best meeting would be face to face but take what ever form of meeting you can get). When you talk or meet be sure to build a report and most of all be GIVING in any way you can. Try to think of a referral you can give, show how you add value and credibility to the relationship. Remember, you are trying to build a long term relationship that will help both of you.
  • Now to EMAIL, only use this as a last alternative if everything else fails. Some people are difficult to get on the phone, if that is the case then use email as a last ditch attempt to schedule a meeting.
  • If all fails do not give up, send a periodic personalized greeting card to stay in front of your prospect in a non-intrusive fashion, DO NOT BE A STALKER, that will scare people away.