The Networker #38: The 12-4-1 Follow Up Framework

4 Oct, 2023
Read time: 4 minutes & 11 seconds

The magic of networking happens between the events.

And with the 12-4-1 Follow Up Framework, you can become a networking magician.

Unfortunately, many believe following up after an event is as simple as a single email, or connecting on LinkedIn.

That’s if you even remember or have a process to follow up at all.

But the reality is, it’s not long until that exciting conversation becomes a fading memory.

The 12-4-1 Follow Up Framework is a weekly exercise to keep any interaction from being that.

Keeping you front of mind when they (or someone they know) needs what you do.

By adopting it, you’ll:

  • Never let a conversation and connection go cold
  • Have a 30 minute weekly exercise you can action from today
  • Increase your chances of being the person people think of

Few networkers have a proper follow up process.

No surprise, no one teaches you how to when you start out networking.

This stops for you today.

The 12-4-1 Framework

By way of introduction, the 12, 4, and 1 in the framework stand for:

    • 12 weeks
    • 4 weeks
    • 1 week

And in short, during a 30 minute exercise each week, you’re going to review your networking activity from those timeframes.

No matter how robust or disciplined your follow up process is after an event, life gets in the way. Things slip through net.

The 12-4-1 framework is there to compliment this and give you a system to put in place.

(For ideas of how best to follow up right after an event, I wrote about this in edition #8.)

Let’s get started:

Step 1

Open your calendar

Step 2

1️⃣2️⃣ Scroll Back 12 Weeks

Many opportunities are left on the table following networking events because of two reasons:

  1. Rubbish follow ups
  2. The timing wasn’t right for either party

12 weeks is enough time for things to change. In life and business.

It’s time to reconnect and bring yourself back to the front of their mind.

Action: Scroll back in your calendar 12 weeks.

  • Review the events or meetings you went to that week – who did you meet? Who did you follow up with?

  • Is there someone you haven’t been in touch with since the initial follow up?

    • Search them on LinkedIn – have they posted a recent update? An event they attended? A project worked on? An insightful post?
    • Send them a message or email to check in and say hi – reference insights you notice.

    E.g. “Hi [NAME], resurfacing our chat after [EVENT] and saying hi! What are you working on at the minute? I noticed you did X recently, [congratulations/looked great/tell me more.]”

  • For those you followed up with and continued speaking – has that gone cold and need reengaging?

Then return to the current week, ready for the 4 in the 12-4-1 Framework.

Step 3

4️⃣ Scroll Back 4 Weeks

Follow a similar process to 12 weeks here.

This time it’s a case of keeping the conversation going if it isn’t still.

Action: Scroll back 4 weeks from the current week.

  • Review each event/meeting – had you arranged those next steps you’d discussed? If not, reengage and reignite the conversation.
  • Use it as chance to check in:
    • Drop them a message or email:
      • Find out which event they are going to next.
      • Let them know which event you’re going to.
      • Find out what they’re working on.
      • Ask what’s new since you last saw them.

Then back to the current week in your calendar, ready for the final part in the 12-4-1 Framework.

Step 4

1️⃣ Scroll Back 1 Week

This is a little closer and fresher in your mind.

Helping progress some of those conversations along with a little nudge.

Or the follow ups you didn’t get done.

Action: Scroll back to the previous week.

  • Where did you network? Who did you meet?
  • Review events or meetings – were there any actions or follow ups needed? Did any follow ups slip through the net?

Then take the appropriate action need.

As you do this exercise each week, doing this part will mean 12 week and 4 week reviews happen faster as you’re doing more sooner after the event.

The Wrap Up

We’re all human. We’re all busy.

Things fall between the cracks.

Plus, as is true in almost every case with networking, those you meet aren’t going to buy from you or work with you right away (unless you’re very lucky).

It could be 4 weeks down the line. Or even 12.

Which is why the 12-4-1 Framework helps avoid connections going cold, and opportunities passing you by.

Networking takes effort, but this framework gives you a system to make it easier.

Most importantly, it keeps you front of mind.

And the person people think of, when they think of what you do.

What Is The Networker?

The weekly newsletter to help business owners and sales leaders network smarter.

1 networking tip, trend or tidbit – every Wednesday morning.

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