Think about the last networking event you attended. Does the following process sound familiar?
1. Met a few new people
2. Handed out some of your business cards
3. Never heard from any of the people you met
It is not unusual to go to a networking event and never receive contact from someone you’ve met. Before you become too smug, ask yourself: Did you follow up with the people you met?
One problem with networking events is that everyone goes home and waits for the other person to do something.
You don’t want to be just another sales person. You want to stand out; You want to be different, right? It won’t take much to stand out in the crowd of most networking event attendees because the follow-up bar is set pretty low.
- Enter new contacts into your contact management software or at least an excel spreadsheet.
- Send an email the next morning telling them how nice it was to meet them and cite one or two of the topics you discussed at the event.
- Look for them on LinkedIn and invite them to connect with you there. See if they have a Twitter account and follow them.
- Give them a call within the first week and invite them out for coffee. The purpose of this invite is to start to better understand their business, so if the opportunity arrives you can refer them to your network.
- Touch base with them on a regular interval, comment on their twitter or LinkedIn status and look for items that you think might be of value to them. The goal is to create a long term connection.
People like to be noticed and remembered. This simple strategy doesn’t take a lot of time but it does set you apart from the normal network event participant. Showing interest in someone else’s business will pay huge dividends for your business.