You just returned from a networking event, having delivered a concise, engaging and listener-centric Elevator Speech to Tony. You continued that brief conversation, began a potentially new business relationship and learned more about what Tony does. You exchanged cards, shook hands and moved on to meet someone else. Now … what do you do?
Here are a few follow up and relationship maintenance Best Practices learned from those people on the Varsity Networking Team. They can reinforce the positive first impression you made on Tony and help you establish a mutually beneficial networking relationship with him.
- Send Tony an email that night for immediacy. Indicate you enjoyed your brief chat at the event and will follow up with a phone call shortly.
- Then, send Tony a hand-written note for impact. While the email note is fine – fast, simple and cheap, how many emails do you get in a day? The hand written note is also simple, cheap … and it really stands out in a stack of snail-mail.
- Whenever you call him, do three things in the first 15 seconds that most amateur networkers don’t do:
- Quickly reintroduce yourself, reference where you met and why you’re calling.
- Ask if this is a good time for a brief chat.
- Then, most importantly, pause for Tony to digest what you just said and respond.
- Stay in touch. Alternate between brief calls and briefer emails.
- Share information that Tony might find interesting or useful, like details on the next networking event or workshop. Include an interesting article or useful Internet link.
- Establish yourself as a valuable business resource and potential ally.
- Ask more than tell. Listen more than Talk. Give before you ask. Offer help before you ask for any help.
- If Tony doesn’t return your calls or notes or seem to be interested in a new business relationship, he might not be. Or, he might be very busy or introverted. Or, social skills and professional courtesy may not be his strong suit.
- After a few sincere attempts on your part to continue the dialogue, move on to someone else you just met. You can assume Tony has learned enough about you and your business to determine if he’s interested in creating an on-going networking relationship. If he isn’t, you’ve just saved yourself some time and effort. His loss.
These simple yet very effective follow up strategies will definitely reinforce the positive first impression you make of uncommon courtesy and class and differentiate you from the pack of amateur networkers. That’s how you make the Varsity Team!