Attending a networking event is only the first of a series of activities which will lead you towards the acquisition of new clients, contacts and business relationships.
If you think that since you have already handed out your card and talked with so many key people, then all you do is wait, then you are greatly mistaken. When you are seeking customers, you need to make the first move – always. It is very rare that attendees of a networking event will remember everything and everyone.
So, how do you ensure that these networking efforts do not go to waste? Simple. Follow up.
Following up with new contacts within 24-48 hours after a networking event will make you standout among the majority of networkers. Strike while the iron is hot – when recent contacts still remember you.
Here are 5 ways to follow up without appearing to be a pest.
Send an e-mailno later than 24 hours later
Don’t wait until the next day or the next week. Chances are you won’t get around to it, and even if you do, the recipient may not recall who you are. It is suggested that you send an e-mail to everyone you took a card from. Even if you don’t see an immediate connection, just say thanks.
Contact one PRP (Potential Referral Partner).
A PRP may be someone to whom you can send business or someone whose clients someone’s firm can help. The best PRPs are those who can figure out a win-win situation.
Seek out one PRP at each networking event with whom to share leads and resources. One of the best ways to grow both a business and a network is by collaborating with others. Joint ventures can be amazingly powerful. In short, remind others you met but helping them out first.
Pick up the phone and tell them that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up.
Remember – the reason why the phone number is indicated on a business card is because the card owner acknowledges calls as one of the many good ways to be contacted. Don’t be embarrassed.
Set a casual meeting
Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense. Show interest in what they do and who they are.
Constantly keep in contact
When you follow up regularly and share information of value after meeting someone you become someone they trust. You will naturally build a solid relationship and before you know it the cards on your desk will become your best clients and partners.
You may send an article or book reference in an email or snail mail. This will show that you listened to the conversation. Or you can find a way to search for their birthdays or anniversaries, promotion or some other important occasion – and greet them. Touch base with them regularly. Continue to give information of value and interest to them.
Just because someone doesn’t call back or respond to your email does not mean they are not interested.Reaching out one time after meeting them is not enough. It generally takes seven or eight touches before someone decides that they are ready to engage you.