On February 12, I hosted networking strategist Sabrina Risley as my guest on the Marketing Blab. Here’s a guest post Sabrina shared prior to the Blab revealing great networking follow-up tips with you.
You spend valuable time to find the right professional networking group, set time aside to attend networking events, have meaningful conversations, ask questions and make connections. Don’t let it all go to waste by never following up.
Even if you’ve made a great first impression, you have to follow up with connections, and you have to do it soon, as you want people to remember your name when they – or someone they know – have a need for your product, program or service.
Following up cements that newly formed connection so you must strike while the iron’s hot, as they say. There are unique and easy strategies to make sure your follow up is interesting, personal, cost-effective and packs a powerful, memorable punch with the people you’ve connected with.
Here are 10 of them that help you stay connected and stand out from the crowd.
1. Email – is there a useful article that relates to the industry the person you connected with is in? If so, send them a short email message with the link to the article.
2. Recommendations – Provide an unsolicited work or character recommendation on LinkedIn, in a status update on other social media platforms, or during a conversation with others.
3. Introductions – Connect them to a potential referral partner or needed resource. This helps them, but also the referral partner you’re connecting them with.
4. Handwritten notes – Do you know about a wedding, birthday, or business anniversary coming up? Did they just purchase a new home, land a new account or job? Be different and mail them a handwritten card to wish them well or congratulate them. (I know this is one of Debra’s long-time favorites for staying in touch in a memorable way.)
5. Pick Up the Phone – Call and thank them for showing interest in your product or services and offer them more information. Your notes from the networking events should help you figure out who is most likely to have a direct and immediate need for what you offer.
6. Extend an Invitation – Invite them to coffee or a round of golf and learn more about them. People are more likely to remember you when they see you more often and for longer periods of one-on-one time.
7. Carpool – If there’s another networking or a community event or seminar, coming up that would be beneficial to them (and you), invite them to carpool there with you. This will give you the chance to reconnect and learn more about them..
8. Send a Gift Card – You can easily purchase one online and have it delivered direct to their email inbox. It can be a small gift such as a Starbucks Latte, a book, a bag of tulip bulbs or packets of herb seeds, chocolate, cookies or other special treats you know they’d enjoy.
9. Print – Frame and mail a cherished photograph you found of them on social media. This is a more personal gift, so give it to those with whom you already have an established relationship.
10. Handmade Gift – Put your talents to use and mail or personally deliver a handmade gift (i.e., a painting, card, jewelry, cookies or other tasty treat).
As you can see, following up and staying in front of important connections can be unique and personal. Leverage the information you’ve gathered about them to your advantage by following up in a personal way that’s brief, informative, meaningful and valuable to them.
Knowing that Bill is a tennis fanatic and send him Andre Agassi’s autobiography will likely be received with a bigger smile than sending him a box of chocolates. However, Susan or someone else you connected with just might enjoy those chocolates!
What are some unique ways you’ve followed up with your connections? Share your ideas in the comments below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million!.
About guest blogger Sabrina Risley: Sabrina is a master connector. She’s hosted live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their companies. She also shares what NOT to do. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking For Success.