Monday, September 10, 2012

After the Networking: Effective Follow-Up Tips

So you're an avid networker. You attend all of the events, and in the lyrics of the old Cheers song, "everybody knows your name." Yet despite more trips to the rubber-chicken buffet, you still don't have anything more than a stack of business cards and no real prospects in sight. Here are three things you should do after the networking event:

Email - I always like to send an email to my potential business first. Some people prefer phone calls, but e-mail is my "pick-my-poison" choice follow-up method. I recommend you give it at least 2-3 days (kind of like the rules of when should I call after you meet someone new) and then shoot them an email.

Coffee - I like coffee as a generic meeting device. I don't like lunch, because that can get expensive if you have a lot of follow-up meetings. Coffee is $3.50 and if nothing else, you've gained a friend from the meeting, $3.50 for a good, ole cup of Joe is nothing off your marketing budget. I also found that in the early days, people would use lunch meetings for a free meal ticket when they had no intention of doing business. Dinner can go that way, too. Now if I really like the person and just want to hang out then lunch or dinner is fine.

Phone - after the coffee meeting and you think there is interest in further exploration, make sure you pick up the phone this time. Some people are huge texting folks; I'm not a big texter. I do text with certain people, because that is their thing, but I feel a good, old-fashioned phone call with a real voice behind it is much better and effective, too.

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