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Why is follow up so important for business networking?

by Richard Foulkes

Who has ever seen those made for TV infomercials peddling transformer ladders, fish seekers, or some other made for TV product?

It’s hard to believe the infomercials work but they even have their own TV channels so it has to be a good return on investment for the sellers of those products.

Who has ever picked up the phone and purchased something as a result of those adverts? Come on, no need to feel ashamed, you really did need that vegetable slicer!

When you phoned, do you recall if the phone was engaged or you were put on hold? Unlikely right? They have you so worked up over that miraculous massage chair that they aren’t going to let you cool off on hold. That would waste their whole effort and investment.

As Seen on BNI TV

If you think about it, receiving a referral in BNI is the result of you working hard in your chapter to establish your visibility and credibility by showing up, preparing your sales pitch, doing your feature presentation and one-to-ones, finding referrals for others, and serving on the leadership team.

All this work leads to referrals for you. It is just like all the work infomercials do to motivate you to call them to purchase. However, one of our fellow members has done the final work to get you the referral to very nearly hand you the sale on a plate. 

*BNI tv is available on YouTube with 14.1K Followers – check it out!

Follow Up

Infomercial advertisers are waiting for your call. They tell us that. But sometimes members receive that call, in the form of a referral, and they don’t follow it up. Seems crazy right?

Here are a few reasons:

1.They are too busy. This isn’t a real reason, usually a quick call to the referral establishes an idea of what they need and the urgency.

2.It’s not a referral for work they want. This also isn’t a real excuse. The referral is followed up by having a conversation thanking them and making sure they understand the work you want. Review your sales pitch and make sure your message is clear as to exactly the type of referral you are looking for, so you don’t receive referrals for types of work or clients you don’t want.

BNI Code of Ethic #4: I will take responsibility for following up on the referrals I receive

Is there to remind us of the importance of following up on referrals to make sure we don’t waste our efforts in BNI to receive referrals? Not really. Obviously, it’s important so you obtain a return on your time in BNI but if you want to pass up on the opportunity of the referrals you receive that’s your loss but not really an ethics breach.

Code of Ethics # 4 is actually there to protect the member, who is practicing Givers Gain, who made the referral to you. Why is that?


Not following up on referrals affects your credibility and greatly lessens the chances of you ever receiving a referral from that member ever again. You lose out.

However, the member that gave you the referral also suffers a loss of credibility with the person they referred to you and that isn’t their fault. They have trusted you with their friend, partner, client or colleague and that trust has been betrayed and that’s not ethical.

Who has followed up with someone they have referred to another member only to find out the promised follow-up hasn’t been made? How was your credibility with that person and the likelihood that you would be able to refer them to someone ever again?


Following up on referrals you receive is critical. Not just for your credibility and return on your investment in BNI but to also protect the person that made the referral to you.

Following up also means letting the person who made the referral to you know how the referral is going for you.

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