The question you should ask is WHY NOT? Sending an email is by far the easiest, fastest, and most cost effective first follow up step you can do. Emailing your new contact within 24 hours makes you stand out from anyone else they may have met at the event. The email also shows you are committed to exploring the business relationship further. You want the email ready in advance to insure it’s sent right away. I would suggest having multiple versions ready to go depending on the types of networking you are doing. You might have one for a Chamber of Commerce Mixer, another for various seminars you may attend, and possibly a version for professionals who visit your weekly networking group such as BNI or LeTip.
The following is a few elements you may want to include in your email:
-Mention the event name in the subject, “Great Meeting You at the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce Mixer”.
-Talk about the event and how great it was meeting them in your opening line, “I really enjoyed meeting you this morning at 5 Minute Networking!
-Mention your desire to learn more about the person and their company. Your goal is to meet with the person to explore how you might help each other. Let them know you will be calling them to setup a meeting shortly.
-In closing ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn or Facebook. I personally welcome new invites as this expands my networking and referral potential.
Remember your email signature! Scott Hanselman has a great post talking about email signature etiquette in his blog. I appreciate a signature that includes the name, phone number, website, and picture. Including your picture is a valuable step in the relationship building process.
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.
I have been thinking about this first entry everyday for the last two weeks. I have written it perfectly at least five times yet not one of them seemed quite right. I have felt that this was the one entry to set the entire tone for Follow Up Success. So this morning as I was anguishing over what I was going to open this blog with I had the opportunity to talk to my friend Angie Swartz who has a great new blog called Six Figure Moms Club. Angie challenged me to really look at the why behind this blog. It reminded me of why I am so passionate about business and where that passion all started.
At the young age of 10 I had my first success in business through a great program called Town. Town was a hands-on type learning experience with all the kids in our school grade. We created businesses, figured out how to make them profitable, and at the end enjoyed a great shopping spree with our earnings. This one experience has had the largest impact on my sales and business career. I have literally thought about Town at some point in every position I have held, every company I have started, and every success I have had.
I have chosen this platform and subject because as business owners and sales professionals great follow up is a huge part of our success. My goal for Follow Up Success is to have it become the source for new and fresh ideas. If you have a great follow strategy let me know so we can discuss it. If you enjoy one of the topics or have experience with one of the ideas make a comment so we can all benefit! I am looking forward to sharing the many ideas to come!