So you’ve met an amazing person at a networking event, or even just at the tram stop. You connected with them on a deep level in just a few minutes, and you even exchanged business cards. Yet it will all be wasted time if you don’t follow up. But it will also be a missed opportunity if you don’t keep in touch the right way. So let’s discover the high art of the follow up through three simple techniques.
Don’t just reach out for the sake of it – by just writing, for instance, “Hey, how’s it going?”. This way, you are basically saying “I’m here: entertain me”. We don’t want to sound needy, nor do we want to be needy in the first place! We are people who can add value to other people’s lives. So send your new contact an article or a book they could be interested in, invite them to an event you’re attending, or, my favourite, introduce them to your network. For details about these techniques, see our article “4 ways to add value to your network”.
Staying in touch virtually is inevitable nowadays, but it’s not enough. I would even argue that remote communication should be banned as the only connection means if you and your contact live in the same town! Would you dare to even try to compare reading a plain three-line email to exploring someone’s facial expression, body language and use of space, while sipping on your cappuccino on a sunny square? And, networking wise, interacting offline is not only more enjoyable, but also more effective, as the relationship you will establish will be rounder. Time management tip: in case you can’t make the gathering you scheduled, opt at least for a video call.
Use a CRM system
Customer Relationship Management systems allow for you to log your interactions with your contacts. My fellow networkers and I have been trying out a few, and most of us find Contactually to be the most efficient one. This platform also makes it possible for you to synchronise the messages you exchange in the most established channels, among which email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even phone and SMS. Contactually also reminds you to follow up at a frequency you will have determined per individual contact – once a week, a month, a quarter. Thank you, Dorie Clark and John Corcoran, for introducing me to it!