Our nanny, Beth, is currently in training to become a massage therapist. For homework she was required to give thirty hours of massages to friends and family, but no more than three sessions for any one person. Of course, I volunteered, because I’m that kind of “giving” guy (what can I say?). Sadly, today was my final session.

There was a bright side to it, though. Beth told me that she would like to continue to practice on me because I gave good feedback. Apparently, some of the folks to whom she’s given massages would just lie there silently not letting her know whether what she was doing was working at all.

If you think about it, this has applications in networking, too. The folks in our network need to know that the efforts they’ve gone through on our behalf have not dropped into an abyss. So here’s a list of situations which should result in feedback.

  • You got the job. Your connection gave you a referral for a potential job and you hit the jackpot. Let them know that you loved it and would love to have more like it.
  • You didn’t get the job. You really appreciate the fact that they sent you a referral. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this time. Let them know that you still appreciate it.
  • The referral wasn’t quite right for you. For whatever reason the job wasn’t right. Maybe the prospect wanted to use Windows in their server and you only use Linux. Maybe the prospect needs a commercial cleaning service and you only do residential. Whatever the reason, you need to let your networking partner know so that they can do a better job next time.
  • You hired a vendor that they recommended. If things went well, let them know. If things didn’t go well, let them know that, too. Remember that a recommendation is the same thing as lending someone your reputation. Your connection is going to want to know if someone is treating their reputation well.
  • You referred them to someone else in your network. If you hear back from that someone else, be sure to let your networking partner know what their opinion was of their service.
  • You took their recommendation on anything. Did they give you the name of a book, restaurant, musical group, hotel, car, vacation destination, banquet hall, etc, etc, etc? If you follow their advice, be sure to let them know how things went.
When we take the time to let our contacts know the results of how they tried to help us, we let them know that we valued the time and effort that they expended to help us. In so doing, we are more likely to see a repeat performance in the future.

Photo credit: Dominik Gwarek