You’ve just spent two hours at a networking event and you’re finally home. You’re ready to take your shoes off and sink into your DVR’d shows. WAIT – the networking event was just the beginning!
We’re all guilty at times. We exchange business cards and then keep the stack on our desk for a few days and then they find their way maybe to our Outlook contacts, maybe to a drawer, or maybe to the trash can. If that is what happens then we really shouldn’t waste our time at the events to begin with – just go straight home to your DVR. But, if you want to make the most of your networking you need to reconnect after the event. Then you’ll be the one that stands out. Maybe nothing will come of it right away, but down the road you never know.
Here are a few steps to take in hopes that those short encounters eventually turn into something more meaningful:
1. Take 10 minutes right after the event to jot down something about the person on their business card. Maybe you both shared a love for baseball, your kids go to the same school or you know someone in common. Just write something down about that person on their card so you won’t forget by the morning.
2. Take 25 minutes the next morning to send each person a quick email (save a few templates that you can fill in the info and overtime this will be an easy step). It is important that you don’t put this step off – it is just like thank you cards, the longer you wait the more details you should include. This email shouldn’t be a hard sale. It should make the person feel like you really did enjoy meeting them. It should include:
a. The event that you met.
b. Something that you discussed (love of baseball, kids schools, someone you know in common).
c. A way to continue to conversation (coffee, lunch, phone call).
d. Include something (link, article, website) that would benefit the other person.
e. How nice it was to meet them.
3. Follow up periodically with articles or events that might interest them. This shows you aren’t just looking for the business. It shows you are helpful and thoughtful.
Do you have any networking follow up ideas that really work for you?