In my last post, I talked about meeting new contacts at large networking events. Just as a quick reminder, if you think that by simply meeting people at these events, it will lead to business, think again. It will not. You need to follow up with the ones who seem to be worth following up with. You have merely started a relationship at the event. Following up develops the type of relationship necessary to bring in new business.
Now that you have these new business cards, here are the next steps:
- Put the names and contact information in some type of system so you know who they are, what they do and how you met them. Doesn’t have to be a fancy software solution. It just has be one where it can be relatively easy to access information about your contacts.
- When you reach out to a new contact, use all of the information you have to help them remember you. They likely met dozens of other people that day – make sure they know who you are.
- Send a LinkedIn invite. Personally, I think LinkedIn is way overrated as a business development tool, but many of those who you meet may expect it, so why not? Especially since it takes little time or effort to do so.
- Get out your calendar and try to schedule some coffee or lunch meetings. That is the type of setting where you can really start developing the relationship.
- Listen for opportunities for you to help them. People love to reciprocate, and if you can do them a favor, they are more likely to do one for you.
Remember, networking is only as successful as the networker makes it. Shaking a dozen hands won’t do you any good – you need to follow up and build relationships with the new people you meet. Only after that, will your phone start to ring from new clients.