The last post covered my general approach to networking and the methods I use to promote my cash practice at networking events. No matter how good you are in networking situations, if you aren’t also good about consistently following up with the contacts you make, your overall efforts will be much less fruitful than they could have been.
Good networking follow up
So what constitutes a good follow up with a new contact? I tend to use email, though some networking gurus out there suggest a handwritten letter. The email/letter should include a few things:
- A mention of her business
- How she differs from similar businesses (if she mentioned that)
- Any other details that came up in the conversation that would be positive to bring up (especially if it might lead to further discussion or a possible meeting to strengthen the connection, collaborate on some business, etc)
- Let her know you’ll keep her and her service/product in mind for others you know.
- Let her know that you want to be a resource for her if she ever needs you to be (but only if you really can be; if you say you can do something but don’t come through, it’s better that you didn’t offer to help in the first place).
- If appropriate and desirable, try to set up a meeting, or at least mention that you hope to see her again at another event.
Here’s an example:
Hello Mrs. Smith,
It was very nice to meet you at the _____ event and to learn about your social media consulting services. As I said, I already have a Facebook business page with a custom url, but I quite often meet other entrepreneurs who do not yet have those things set up. I think business owners are really starting to realize the necessity of using emerging technologies and social media. Hopefully I can send some colleagues your way to utilize this important form of marketing, not to mention the fact that you can create Google Adwords campaigns and do website customization too! Thanks again for the nice conversation, and please let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help increase your success. I’ll be attending the _____ networking event in two weeks, and I imagine there will be many business owners in attendance that could benefit from your services. Hope to see you there.
If I already know someone who would likely benefit from my new contact’s product/service or would simply be a positive connection to make, I’ll email/call that person to see if he is okay with my doing an introductory email. Then my follow-up email is also an email connecting the new contact to potential new business right away. The people I’ve done this for have been incredibly surprised and grateful. It’s something that very few new contacts tend to do, and it really separates you from the pack.
My networking strategy in a nutshell
Enter networking situations and events with the intention of adding value to the lives and businesses of those you meet. Always follow up, even with those you with whom you had a very brief meeting. Set yourself apart by mentioning specifics about your conversation, putting them in contact with other valuable connections and/or setting up a future meeting.
If you go into networking situations with the genuine intention to be as valuable as possible to the others in the room, your business will benefit and grow exponentially more than the person who is just showering the room with his business cards.
And on another note … Happy Holidays!!