Do you have a stack of business cards on your desk just waiting for you, taunting you? You’re not alone. So many business owners and sales professionals are out there, day after day, networking their hearts out. They’re meeting tons of prospective customers and referral partners. But for some, that’s all they’re doing: meeting them. If they’re missing the networking follow-up, they’re probably leaving quite a lot of money on the table.
You can be different. You can be the networker that people remember for your follow-up. Wouldn’t that be something?
Curious how to do that? Read on!
Follow Up in a Timely Manner
We’re all busy. But when you meet with someone new, you need to make time to follow up with them. And do it quickly.
Generally speaking, you want to follow up within 24 hours, or one business day.
Have a stack of cards on your desk that you’ve been collecting for the past month or more? You could still try to reach out to them, but the odds are they’ve forgotten you. And honestly, unless you took notes or they stood out for you, you’ve likely forgotten where you met them anyway. Pretty hard to follow-up when you have no idea how to start the conversation.
Reach Out in Multiple Ways
Some people are all about email, while others like a call. There are those people who want to connect on LinkedIn. Some of the younger generation may appreciate a text. Then there are the traditionalists who are charmed by getting a card in the mail.
Think about how you like to connect with people, as well as how they might like to connect. And then do a few things.
For instance, you may want to email and connect on LinkedIn if you’re just doing standard follow-up. But for those people you meet you think could be potential clients or referral partners, a phone call and suggestion to get together for coffee is the logical next step.
Stay in Communication
If you met someone at a networking event who you feel would be valuable to have in your network, keep that networking follow-up going. The first step might be a connection request on LinkedIn. That could be followed by an email to schedule a phone call. After the phone call, you can send a handwritten card.
You may even want to put them on your newsletter list.
But wait…. There’s a little word of caution on newsletter lists. For some people, networking follow-up consists of only putting people on their newsletter lists. They enter names into their CRM and start sending a monthly or weekly email.
While newsletters have a place in marketing, you shouldn’t just put everyone on your list.
As a good rule of thumb, do one of two things:
- Let people know, when you initially follow up with them, that you’re going to add them to your list. Remind them that it just takes a click to unsubscribe if they don’t see the value there.
- Wait until you have a connection with people before you put them on your list. That could be a one-to-one meeting, Zoom session, or phone call. Then, after you’ve established a foundation, it probably makes sense to put them on your list.
Master the Art of Networking Follow-up
When you have a smart game plan for networking follow-up, you’ll train yourself to do it every time. And that can result in differentiating yourself and your brand, as well as creating future opportunities.
As you’re connecting to people you’ve met while networking, be sure that you don’t rush to sell them anything. Focus on building a relationship and sharing value. As Zig Ziglar famously stated, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” This should be the golden rule of networking follow-up. Always ask, “How can I help you?”—especially before you ask for others for their help.
Ink & Quill Communications incorporates networking into our marketing plans to ensure clients have a robust strategy that works on various levels. Curious how we can help you? Schedule a brief 10-minute call to learn more.