My business is built on referrals, and networking events have turned into the one of my favorite places to get them – so I was excited when I recently read the networking power tips in the post How to Be a Networking Super Hero, by Phil Gerbyshak.
Phil shares my love for networking events and gives some great tips on things to do before, during, and after the event. The piece on follow-up was my favorite part. To begin the follow-up process, he writes:
Follow-up with a brief e-mail with an insight shared during the event (and confirm or make your appointment) – The next morning (or even the night of the event) follow-up with a brief e-mail of no more than 5 sentences, calling back to something shared during the event, and either confirm the coffee date (30 minute max) or offering 3 dates/times in the next 10 days that work for you to have coffee. The keys here are the timeliness of the message, the 30 minute time frame, and offering several choices of times.
He goes on to say you should connect with your new contact on LinkedIn (and twitter, if they use it), and he has some great tips on what to do at your follow-up meeting.
My Networking Power Tips
With most of my coaching clients, we set a goal for them to attend 1 networking event per week (that’s my personal goal as well). Then I follow these 3 steps to make sure the event was a success and not just a social event.
- Meet 3 quality people. Don’t be a business card junkie and try to meet everyone in the room. Instead, try to meet 3 people that you think could be a potential customer, referral source, or business partner.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn within 24 hours. Your LinkedIn profile should be attractive and contain everything they need to know about you professionally (click here for my tips on creating a powerful LinkedIn profile). This is your way to show the people that you meet how amazing you are.
- Call them within 48 hours. Have a reason for the call, but a live follow-up conversation is usually the thing that will seal the deal and let you know if they are a person you need to know or not.
If you don’t make any productive connections at a specific networking event, just keep reminding yourself that it is essential to seek out new business. Just keep at it, you’ll get better.
One more thing: don’t attend networking events for the free food – if that’s what you’re after, you can go get free samples at Costco!
Until next time – go sell some stuff!