December 6, 2017

5 ways to follow up with networking contacts

Take a deep breath–– event season is over. You’ve had countless conversations, collected enough pens for a lifetime, and created a hefty stack of business cards.

When you think about following up with all of those contacts, do you get overwhelmed? Don’t worry–– your experience doesn’t have to feel that way. In fact, reconnecting with your new contacts can be fun and meaningful. Not convinced? Here are 5 surefire ways to keep those connections close:

1) Business Card CRM

Don’t worry if you haven’t invested in a CRM system. Excel spreadsheets and Sharpies can do wonders.

Immediately after a conversation with a new contact, write the important details about them on their business card. Since it probably already has their business title, include something that’s more personal–– like your conversation about a mutual love of meditation, or your upcoming trip to their hometown. That way, when you reconnect, you can keep the connection human. Not only is that more fun than leading with business talk, but it also helps the person remember who you are. After all, they probably have a ginormous stack of cards to sort through, too! It’s a win-win.

2) Reconnect with cards

In the 21st century, getting a handwritten letter is the best kind of surprise. It shows that someone thought of you, got a card, wrote you a note, found your address, bought postage, and walked to a mailbox. When Facebook Messenger and email exist, that’s a lot of steps to let someone know that you’re thinking about them! That’s exactly why this personalized follow-up method will make you memorable.

3) Be inviting

As Michael Port famously says in Book Yourself Solid, “People generally hate to be sold, but they love to be invited–as long as the invitations are relevant and anticipated.” By offering an invitation to an event, you’re providing value and opening the door to future conversations. If you’re the type of person who goes to events frequently, this strategy will require very little effort–– and great results.

4) Try matchmaking

Connecting two people via email is a simple yet powerful strategy. After all, it provides value to two people while simultaneously boosting your worth to both. In other words, you’re not just out to help yourself–– you’re creating opportunity for others. As a result, each person will be more inclined to help you in the future. (Of course, helping others with no hope of return is also warm fuzzy-making. The world needs more of that.)

5) Comment on content

If you’re in the content creation game, you know that it feels great when people provide a thoughtful response to your work. It’s rare, and really means a lot. That’s exactly why you should take the time to peruse the work of any meaningful new contacts. Then, shoot them an email with some positive feedback. For a guaranteed way to continue the conversation, make sure to end the note with a question.

Have even more ways to stand out to new contacts? Share them in the comments!


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