I always ask my new connection what type of follow up method do they prefer, is it email or phone? Find out their preference, and then exchange business cards. If they do not have a business card, pull out a notebook or your phone and take down their information. I’ll note on the business card by circling their preferred method of contact to remind me later how to contact them.
After the event I will begin the follow up process. I contact each person I connected with by their preferred method of contact. I block out time in my calendar for each contact method, making sure I have plenty of time for phone calls. Sometimes it can take longer than 24 hours to make contact, and that’s okay, you will want to find the best times according to your schedule.
When I contact them I like to touch upon the following points: the event name and some specific talking points we had in our conversation to jog their memory. This lets them know I was listening, I heard them, and I am authentically looking to connect and follow up. Then I let them know that I’d love additional time (30-45 minutes) to continue to get to know them and their business. I do not talk about my business during this conversation. My intention is to learn about them, their business, and their clients. I then give them two different times, two different days of the week, and two different times of the day.
For example I might say: Hello Jane! It was great to meet you at “XYZ event”. I love that we got to talk about how you were a “XYZ” before you started your business. I would love to get to know more about your business and how you stand out in the crowd. Just so you know, I think we will need 30-45 minutes to get to know each other. Then give them the timeframes you have available to meet up.
I have found an 80% success rate of returned contact, and a 70% success rate of the person choosing one of the times presented to them. This prevents the back and forth of communication trying to nail down a day and time to meet. I try to keep the appointments booked on the same days and time blocks so it maximizes my time.
Only 40% of business owners follow up after a networking event, so it’s very easy to stand out by simply following up. This helps your business to move forward, and the person you are connecting with. It also allows you to get more insight to the person you are connecting to in general. You can sort through your contacts to vet how serious they are to work with you, or if they are an appropriate referral partner for you.
Some tips for staying connected to the people you meet at a networking event is to get their cell phone number whenever possible. People can move around from company to company, but by obtaining their cell number it allows you to stay in contact. If they hand you their business card, verify if the number on the business card is their office or cell number.
These tips and techniques help keep networking more streamlined and focused. You’ll save yourself a lot of work in the background if you follow up with intention. You will be able to qualify your contact and weed out the ones that are not professional or your ideal power partner.
About the Author: As an established networking expert and business matchmaker, Brittani Nelson matches entrepreneurs with the power partners and referrals that move their businesses forward. She is passionate about connecting her clients and power partners with the referrals, knowledge, and resources they need to thrive. A perfect match between business and client or business and timely resources creates beneficial relationships and builds a stronger community. Brittani promotes growth through connections.