By Lisa Rangel
Attending a networking event this week and want a game plan to succeed after the event? Or just returned from a networking gathering and not sure what to do with those business cards you received? Well, you have stumbled upon the right article to help you. Whether you are looking for a new job or growing your business or both, effective networking follow-up is a skill that can help you achieve your goals.
- According to the latest study from CareerXRoads, more than 27% of external hires in America are from referrals. In fact, it’s the top external source of hires today.
- According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals. A Nielsen Study cited clients are four times more likely to buy when being referred from someone they know and trust.
So we know why we network, but what do you do to follow up after a networking event? After all, It’s what you do after the event that matters, as that is where the real work begins! Here are some suggestions of what to do:
- Google their name – You’d be amazed at what you can find by Googling a person. You can find additional information to help you with reasons to connect—or not to do so. This info can help with all steps on this list.
- Make notes on what happened at the event, record your thoughts and create a list of actions to implement.
- Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it makes sense to keep chatting.
- Start a dialogue to stay in touch, if no need to meet—ask them what they thought of the event via email.
- Connect with a LinkedIn invitation including a note that you enjoyed meeting at the event where you met.
- Via email, suggest a 15-minute phone call, be clear on the purpose and how it can benefit you both to do so.
- Here’s a novel idea: just call the person…indicate that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up.
- Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense. Show interest in what they do and who they are.
- Follow the person on Twitter. This can provide real time data to improve the content of your communication.
- If you see a personal connection outside of work and/or it makes sense, connect on Facebook.
- Do not automatically add them to any email list you may have! Instead, send an email asking if they would like to join your email list since you thought, based on your conversation, the content may be of interest. Don’t spam!
- Enter the information into your contact management system. A contact made today, may not bring you business today, but that person may be the resource you needed (or needed you) for a situation in the future.
- Look to influence. See how you can introduce two people who can help each other and ask to make that introduction…it’s good karma, as you are always remembered as the person who made the introduction.
- Thank the host of the event—a great way to start a connection that you did not have before.
- Ideally make contact within 48 hours, but don’t fail to reach out if it is later than that time frame. I have reached out 6 months after the initial meeting and have it turn out well—but this is not recommended at all!!
- Look for people who can influence your business or job search—not just give you business or hire you. Influencers are more impactful than direct clients or hiring managers, since they introduce many opportunities.
- Search for collaborators and joint venture partners. The best way to grow is by collaborating with others.
- Send an article or book reference in an email or snail mail. This will show that you listened to the conversation.
Networking can take time and energy if you let it, or it can be integrated into your daily activities with a simple change in mindset to be more effortless. A small, consistent investment of time each week can pay off huge dividends in the future for you and your network. Take some of the actions above and see the good that happens… Good luck!