If you’re not willing to invest time and energy in developing relationships with the people you meet, you should stop networking right now.
No, I mean it.
Because there’s no reason to get dressed, travel to an event, often times pay money to attend, spend time talking with people, and travel back home if you don’t do anything else after that.
Do you think that the people you meet are going to remember you or your business if they never hear from you again? It’s possible, and not likely.
People will remember your business, and give you referrals when they have a relationship with you. No matter what business you’re in, people still choose to do business with people they know, like and trust. For more on this topic read my post, The Truth About Why Clients Choose Your Business.
And since it takes time to create those kinds of relationships, they do require an investment on your part.
So here are the three steps you need to take.
1. Follow Up
After the event, set aside time to connect with every person you meet at a networking event. This can be done in many different ways. Here is a list; you can do one or a combination of them.
– Send an email
– Invite them to connect on LinkedIn
– Follow them on Twitter
– Call them
The sooner you can follow up the better. And I know you’re busy, so just in case time gets away from you and you think you’ve lost the opportunity, don’t despair. Read my post, It’s Never Too Late to Follow Up.
If you want to get the most out of each networking event you attend, be sure to look at the list of attendees before the event.
And in case there were people at the event that you wanted to meet, but didn’t have the chance (this happens a lot) you can still get in touch with them.
You can send an email to them letting them know that you were hoping to meet and that you’re disappointed that it didn’t happen. When appropriate, you can also take action described in the second step below.
If you don’t have their email, you can always follow them on Twitter and if they follow back you can send a Direct Message (DM) and share your message there.
For more on what to do before a networking event take a look at my post, What to Do Before, During, and After a Networking Event.
To make sure you’re spending time at the right events, check out my post: The Secrets of Effective Networking.
2. Give Value
Give first, why not? It doesn’t cost you a dime to share your network or your resources, a little time and thought. Here are two ways you can be generous with your new contacts.
You can connect the people you meet with people that they would enjoy meeting. To learn why this is so powerful take a look at my posts: Save Money on Your Marketing and Build Your Reputation With This One Strategy and Connect People to Each Other and Watch Your Business Grow.
And you can share an interesting resource that your new contact may find interesting based on what you discussed. Think about things like: book recommendations, helpful blogs, specific articles, and relevant events.
“Be genuine. Be Remarkable. Be worth connecting with.” Seth Godin Click to Tweet
3. Keep Track & Nurture
And finally, you need to keep track of all the fabulous new people you meet and the interactions you have with them.
If you have a photographic memory you’re set. On the other hand, if you’re like me you will need help keeping track.
It’s not important how you do it; the point is that you actually do it. For more on this check out my post: Why You Need to Keep Track of Your Tribe and How to Do It.
Of course you want to take all of the business cards you’ve collected and enter the contact details into your system.
It’s good to add notes about things like: dates and locations of meetings, which networks you’re connected on, information you’ve shared or introductions you’ve made.
You can also create reminders in your system to get in touch after a certain period of time has passed, say three or four months.
Results won’t happen overnight, that’s the whole point. Building relationships is a long-term strategy that will reap huge rewards over time.
But if you’re not willing to invest in your networking, you’ll be better off spending your time elsewhere and putting your networking shoes back in the closet.
Yes, these are simple steps and they aren’t even hard to do yet so many people don’t do them. Make the decision to make your networking efforts worthwhile and start doing these three things today.
© Stephanie Ward
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ’7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at: http://www.fireflycoaching.com.
How do you follow up after a networking event? Share your tips and ideas in the comments section below.