How to Follow-Up After a Networking Event
Written by: Michelle Bakula on June 18, 2012
How To Follow-Up After a Networking Event
In the first two “how-to” videos, you learned how to find networking groups, and how to effectively use the time you spend networking. However, if there is no “follow up” after a face-to-face networking event; quite frankly, it’s a waste of your time. That is why we say that the “follow up” is the most critical part of any networking event.
But how do you follow up after an event in a way that doesn’t appear pushy? And more importantly, how do you develop the relationship that you have begun to build and gain “trust” as a business professional?
Too many people walk away from networking events feeling good, but then do nothing. And in most situations, if you don’t follow up on a timely basis, the people with whom you spent time at the event probably won’t remember you or your conversation. So, you should make it a personal goal to take decisive action after every single networking event you participate in.
Here a few suggestions for “follow up” that only take a little strategic planning and an effort on your part, but are proven to take your networking events to a new level:
- [Send a follow-up email or note] Follow up by email or even the old-fashioned note in the mail. Simply let the person know that it was great to meet them and that you will keep them in mind if you meet anyone that is looking for the services or products that they offer. This shows that you took an interest in their business and will make a personal investment of your time to help them gain new clients.
- [Build upon the conversation you had at the event] Try to include something in your follow up email or note that is personal to show that you found them interesting. For example, maybe they shared with you that their daughter just graduated or that they are a marathon runner. Let them know that you enjoyed hearing their story or give them a sincere “congratulations” on their success. You can even decide to keep personal notes, observations, and new contact introductions after each event as well. You may be able to use these notes for long-term strategic planning. Remember that your follow up email or note gives you the opportunity to build upon the relationship you began creating during the networking event.
- [Follow up within 24 hours] Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours. If you don’t, that individual may not remember who you are, or you may forget to do the follow up altogether. Following up quickly also shows that you are taking the networking opportunity and their business seriously.
- [Add them to your contact database] Don’t forget to add this person’s contact information into your database. In your follow up email or note, let them know that you would like to email or mail them your monthly newsletter and try to gain permission to add them to your email list. At this point, you will want to request to be put on their email list as well so you can stay updated on their business. This shows the sincere desire once again to learn more about what they do.
- [Sell yourself first, then your business] Leave your new contact with a feeling that you are more interested in them and their business than selling “your” travel products. You are still selling “YOU” and building a relationship. If this is done effectively in the beginning, you will get the opportunity to promote your business soon enough. In the meantime, you are building a strong relationship to build upon in the future.
- [Use social media to make a connection] Send a Linked-in or Facebook invitation after your initial follow-up. This is a great way to stay connected both personally and professionally. Using social media for your business has become the standard and you will find your request to connect in this way will be accepted by the majority of people you interact with.
- [Suggest another face-to-face meeting] Suggest meeting for coffee or lunch so you can get the opportunity to learn about THEIR business. A win-win relationship is generally most appealing to a business contact. It will give you the opportunity to get to know them as an individual, learn more about their business and build a relationship. The benefit of this type of meeting is that they ultimately will want to learn more about you and your business in return.
Remember to approach networking as an opportunity to build relationships and widen your possibilities to grow your prospect list. Face-to-face networking becomes the most effective when you have fine-tuned your follow-up procedures and actions.
If you do these few simple steps when following up, you will find that not only have you separated yourself from the competition, but you have begun defining yourself as a person with whom they want to do business. And the bottom line is: People will do business with people they like.
Do you have what it takes to sell travel? Contact Call Burt Kramer at 1-888-611-1220 (ext. 101) and/or visit KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your own home-based travel business.