After returning from a week long national conference and expo with my stack of cards ready to go into the CRM it seems only appropriate to write a follow up from last week’s blog on networking.
Timing is everything. As you organize your next steps by type of potential lead, be sure to follow up with all connections within days of the introduction, not weeks. As we all know, getting back from a conference means catching up on the work, email and calls we’ve missed and it’s easy to forget who we talked with about any given subject so don’t delay: send a brief, follow up email within forty eight hours of the initial conversation – there’s no need to wait until the show is over and we’ve all returned to our respective home cities.
Make the message specific. Avoid the mass email distribution with the one, generic message that speaks universally about you, your company and how you may be of service. While it may resonate with a percentage of your connections, it’s just as likely to disengage another portion of your potential leads. Rather, write a message to each individual, citing specifics such as where and when you met, quotes from the conversation and reiterate next steps to keep the conversation going forward. The messages don’t need to be long (in fact, the shorter, the better), what’s more important is they capture each, individual conversation concisely, using an active voice.
Be generous. It’s an easy trap to focus on what you’re going to gain from the initial conversation but when you provide value to your counterpart, from her/his view, it’s much more likely to evolve into a business opportunity. Reflect back on the conversation and focus in on the other’s imperatives, priorities, pain points and include in your follow up email recommended readings, info-graphics that are rich in content specific to his/her issue or better yet, provide a “freebie” from your company in the form of a white paper, blog or recorded webinar. The recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness, ability to listen to his/her concerns and your connection with him or her will be meaningful and memorable.