Rocking a networking event is only half the battle. Yes, it’s important to choose the right networking event, break out of your shell, and make some great introductions, but what really counts is how well you follow up with your new contacts. If you botch the follow up, everything else is for naught.
Here are five tips that will help you turn that great initial exchange into a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
1. Take notes on the people you meet. When you first meet someone, take a moment to jot down some quick notes about him—who he is, what you talked about, etc. This way, when you prepare to contact him after a day or so, you have a clear memory of the person.
2. Make contact. Don’t wait for the person to contact you; he might not. You have to be the one to push the relationship forward. A simple email or even a follow on a social network can be a great way to initiate contact.
3. Make sure she knows who you are. Like you, the other individual probably met a lot of new people at the networking event, and may not remember who you are. It’s your job to jog her memory. Make sure you mention where you met her, what you talked about, and who you are. It’s impossible to build a strong relationship with someone if she doesn’t really know who you are.
4. Give her a reason to continue the conversation. We’re all self-absorbed. We always want to know what’s in it for us before we do anything. You have to make sure the person you’re following up with knows what’s in it for her if she continues the conversation and starts to build a relationship with you. Do you see a way the two of you can work together for mutual gain? Do you have something helpful to offer her? Be clear so she’s motivated to move the relationship forward.
5. Don’t give up. You might not hear back from the person when you first try to follow up. That’s OK. It often takes multiple touches before engagement occurs. Touch base regularly, and do your best to demonstrate your value. Of course, make sure you don’t cross the line and become a pest.
What tactics do you use to follow up with a new networking contact?