Networking opportunities are always among us- whether it be an exclusive gala, happy hour, bumping into someone at a coffee shop or simply engaging in conversation with someone on the local on your commute to work, it is a valued interaction that has much potential. That potential however; is only attainable if you take the initiative to follow-up! Too many times, awesome connections are made, but the ball is instantly dropped when it comes to taking action after that interaction. Just like any relationship, business relationships take time to grow and prosper. To jumpstart the process, following up is a must.
Following-up does not have to be a daunting nor time-consuming task, it just takes 5 minutes or so out of your hectic schedule to succinctly recap your interaction and voice your hopes of remaining in contact in the future.
Here’s how to effectively follow-up like a pro and turn those contacts into partnerships!
1. Follow-Up Via Email
Do not wait too long to send that follow-up email. Make sure to follow up within 24-48 hours so that you are on top of mind! Simply express your gratitude for the connection made and make evident your intention to remain in touch. Pinpoint the objectives of your discussion/interaction and what resonated with you.
Ex. Hi X,
Thank you so much for your time today, it was a pleasure meeting you. I enjoyed talking about XX and learning about your experience with XX.Your professional insight and career advice is much appreciated.
You mentioned XX, I am happy to be of assistance with that.
Thank you again for your time, I hope to stay in touch!
2. Connect on Linked In
Send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn in a timely manner. Be sure to indicate how you met the person and add a personal note recapping your interaction and highlighting speaking points.
3. Offer Assistance
The best networking relationships are ones that are mutually beneficial. If something piques both the interest of you and your contact, make the effort to reach out to them to notify them of a new venture or something that is beneficial to them.
4. Be Blunt
Beating around the bush, is a waste of time and an ineffective way to get what you want. Always be direct (yet polite) and specify your needs/intentions right off the bat so that way your contact can better help you achieve what you need. Be sure to clarify any underlying purposes.
5. Create Something More
Go beyond the scope of remaining in touch via email and pave the way for more face-face interaction. Invite your contact to lunch, dinner or your next business event to further incorporate them into your own network. This will pave the way for more business opportunities.
6. Know When to Back Off
Yes, persistence is key but to a certain extent. It’s acceptable to follow up a week after an initial follow up that was never responded to, but after reaching out two or three times, accept the reality that this venture might not reach fruition and that’s okay. The last thing you want to do is bombard someone with emails if they are not interested. The key to success though is to stay positive and know that other opportunities will come your way!