Networking doesn’t end at the event. At least it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, it does end when the clock chimes all too often. As I’ve said many times before I know this to be true because it’s what I did with far too many networking opportunities. Have you clocked out when an event was finished?
The title seems like a silly thing to say, doesn’t it? But the truth be told, most of us have missed connecting with someone who could have helped us or we could’ve helped, because we didn’t follow-up. Of course, we’ve stayed in touch with people who expressed a direct need for our product, service, or talents, but unfortunately, in most cases that’s the exception. Think I’m misinformed? You know that place you throw business cards? Go grab ten random cards from the pile and tell me what you recall about meeting the person who gave you the card. I’ll wait. Did you remember seven out of ten? Five? Three? Get my point? Most of us suck at networking follow-up.
Networking Doesn’t End at the Event
Here’s a Follow-up Plan for Your Next Networking Event
- Pick three to five – Pick the top three to five connections for follow-up.
- Don’t wait – Make the first follow up the same or next day.
- Use multiple media – If possible ask their communication preference. Follow-up by email, wait a day or two then make a phone call and follow that with a snail mail card or note.
- Don’t stop – Continue occasionally following up as unobtrusively as possible. Follow the person or business on social media and share their posts. Invite them to an event. Seek their advice. Keep your name in the hat.
- Help them – Look for ways to assist them. Send customers their way, offer free help within your expertise, be an advocate.
Don’t Leave it to Chance
Networking doesn’t end at an event. However, without a follow-up plan your efforts are relying on luck. You hope they remember you. Maybe they’re good at follow up and will contact you. Why chance it? Pick who you can help that might help you, keep your name in front of them, finds ways to be of service to them, and good things will happen. How do you follow-up networking connections?
Are You a Good Networker?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. I needed a plan to be an effective networker. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
My plan probably won’t be your plan. That’s why throughout the book there are worksheets, checklists, and simple CTA’s. Use these to create a networking plan that fits your needs.