I do more networking than the average business or professional. I typically attend three or more different networking events every week. I meet all types of business professionals, owners, and sales people. And guess what makes me stand out from all the other people networking… I follow up with every single person. Here is my follow up process:
1) When you get back to your office, or within 24 hours send an email to each person you met. Keep it simple and not a sales pitch.
2) Mail each person a “nice to meet you” greeting card within 24 hours.
3) Within one week call each new contact to set up a meeting to learn more about their business and how you might help each other.
(The meeting can be in person or on the phone. The idea is for each of you to learn more about each other. 15 to 30 minutes for each person to talk is more than enough time. Make sure to add this contact into your social media platforms you use like LinkedIn or Facebook )
4) On the second week, contact the person again with a call and email if you have still not connected.
5) Mail a thank you card after the meeting within 24 hours.
6) I make it a point, after meeting with a new contact, to give them a referral within 30 days. Ideally this happens but not always.
7) Make contact again 30 days after your meeting. Remember you are building a relationship with this person that can last for years.
The key is to have a set follow up system in place for each networking event prepared in advance. In the near future I will be discussing these steps in more detail. Keep in mind whether you attend one networking event a day, or one every two months, follow these simple steps and your networking results will improve dramatically. A great place to learn more about all of the different types of networking is the National Networker blog. You will find a never ending amount of resources and information.