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    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:

    1.  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.
    2. Set up a different follow-up routine for lower level contacts that runs at the same time.
    3. Be clear about what outcome you are expecting from each individual contact.  You might find it helpful to research their company.
    4. Contact them via social media, especially LinkedIn.  Stay away from liking their personal page on Facebook, this is getting too personal, too quickly.
    5. Prioritise your new contacts so that you re focusing on the high-level contacts first.
    6. 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.
    7. 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?
    8. 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.
    9. Focus on how you can help your contact.  Try not to push for an immediate sale and build up a relationship of mutual trust.
    Folder image for networking blog

    A well design eye-catching folder is an ideal tool to use when networking

    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.

    Letterheads image for networking blog

    Printing out letters on well design letterheads will have impact

    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.

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