By: Gina Mason
Networking events can be a great way to expand your personal Rolodex and your business. However, the key to truly getting the most out of networking events is not so much what you do at the event, but what you do after that makes a big difference. Post-event follow up is crucial to building long-lasting relationships and beneficial business connections.
Many of us are guilty of falling short on the follow up process after events and may be missing out on some great business opportunities. Even though it can be time consuming, taking a few minutes to follow up will create long-term relationships and is the key to a successful business.
Here are a few tips on how to follow up with new contacts after networking events:
Do some research
Check out your new contact’s website or do a Google search to see if they have been featured in any articles. This will give you the opportunity to get some insight on their business and see exactly what they do. Most importantly, it may give you some ideas or speaking points for when you connect with them via email.
Reach out immediately
Don’t let your new contact’s business card sit on your desk for months or only reach out to them when you need something. Send them an email within 48 hours of your networking event to remind them of who you are, what you do and recap anything you discussed. This will begin the conversation and the relationship building process.
Connect on social media
Shortly after sending the email, be sure to connect with your new contact on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. This will help you stay up-to-date on anything they are working on and may give you a perfect reason to reconnect later down the road (i.e. say Happy Birthday or congratulate them on an accomplishment).
It’s understood that in networking situations that you are going to ask people for assistance, but giving a helping hand first will prove that you are a valuable connection. Make an email introduction or refer some business to them before you ask them for something. Your new contact will appreciate the thought and will most likely return the favor.
Meet in person
Connecting face-to-face can be very powerful and will only help cultivate the business relationship by creating a rapport. Whether it’s for lunch, a drink or a cup of coffee, don’t underestimate the power of being in the same room. Not only will you be able to fill your new contact in on what you are working on, but you can also brainstorm some ideas on how to work together.
Try to stay in touch with your new contact any way that you can. Send them a quick email to catch up or relevant article, set up another meeting or invite them to an event on a monthly basis. This will keep you on the forefront of his/her mind and will foster a lasting relationship.
I hope you found these tips to be helpful and that they will assist you in developing a strong business network. Best of luck with your next networking event!
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