Networking for Business: How to Successfully Follow up Leads
So, you prepared well for your networking event (check out our blog Networking for Business: Top Tips for Success) and you made the most of the opportunity once you got there. You now have a clutch of new contacts with various levels of quality. What’s next?
Put together an effective, memorable, time-limited plan for making the most of the leads you generated during the networking event. Here’s how:
- Plan a business-like friendly follow up routine that reflects you and your business. Be measured in your approach; you don’t want to become a nuisance.
- Set up a different follow-up routine for lower level contacts that runs at the same time.
- Be clear about what outcome you are expecting from each individual contact. You might find it helpful to research their company.
- Contact them via social media, especially LinkedIn. Stay away from liking their personal page on Facebook, this is getting too personal, too quickly.
- Prioritise your new contacts so that you re focusing on the high-level contacts first.
- Make the initial contact as soon after the event as possible. Don’t let your new lead ‘go cold’. If it was a large networking event it will be very easy for your contact to forget who you are.
- Decide how you are going to make initial contact, which method of follow-up is the most appropriate?
- Include in your communication any information that you promised when you met. For example, the loan of a book, recommendation of a supplier?
- Handwritten note – this is very personal and memorable as not many people write personal letters any more.
- Email – there are a plethora of templates that you can use on the internet if you are stuck for words!
- Telephone conversation – mention where you met, what you talked about and who you are. Your new contact may have also met a large number of people at the event and may need reminding who you are. Is it appropriate that you both meet for an initial meeting?
- Put a date in your diary for your next follow up so that the time between making contact does not drag out for too long.
- Focus on how you can help your contact. Try not to push for an immediate sale and build up a relationship of mutual trust.
10. You now have a good business-like routine planned, you have made your initial contact and put in your diary the date to follow up your contact again. This maybe an appropriate time to send a mixture of information but give it a strong professional look and feel by sending it in a folder.
A well-written cover letter, summarising the communication beforehand and introducing new information that will be of use, guarantees and longevity and professionalism of your message.
Over a period of time, by using the tips above you will build a reliable, high-quality network. By placing the focus of your communications on how you can help others, you will become a point of reference and like-minded, professional contacts will soon be happy to recommend you.