As entrepreneurs and ambitious leaders, the power of networking goes beyond merely exchanging business cards or LinkedIn connections at events—it's about forging genuine, meaningful connections that can propel your business forward. You've attended the events, made the introductions, and now it's time to solidify those relationships.
You have to have a strategy and a plan for how you best follow-up. Whether that’s an email or reaching out on social. If you have FOMO you didn’t meet somebody, send them a message and say I am really disappointed we didn’t get to connect at such and such. If you say you will follow up, do that. You want to make sure you are keeping your word because that’s a really big part of your brand value and building trust with your community as you expand your network.
Here are some expert tips to help you master the art of post-networking and cultivate deeper connections:
1. Prompt and Personalized Follow-Ups
Within 48 hours of meeting someone at an event, take the initiative to follow up via email or LinkedIn message, to make it memorable, tailor and personalize the messages you send - make it related to the conversation you had at the event and always end with a question to offer them an opportunity to respond to you. That’s the easiest and most natural way to keep that conversation going.
Personalization is key—reference a specific discussion or topic from the event to jog their memory. This shows attentiveness and genuine interest in continuing the conversation. It may be hard to remember names so use those 'memory tricks' on how to remember names or take a moment to jot down in your notebook or notes on your phone - the person's name and a descriptive (such as what they do or something memorable they said) so that you're follow-up is more meaningful. You can even create a networking tracker to track it all.
2. Share Value, Create Impact
Offer something of value in your follow-up. Share an insightful article, a helpful resource, or a solution to a problem you discussed. Providing value demonstrates your expertise and willingness to contribute, making a lasting impression. If the person expressed a want, need, or shared a business problem, it's the perfect opportunity to provide your input and value. And if you promised to follow up or share a resource, be sure to keep your word as it speaks to your brand value and builds trust.
3. Schedule a Follow-Up Meeting
If the conversation had potential for collaboration or deeper exploration, propose a follow-up meeting. Whether it's a virtual coffee chat or an in-person meet-up, these meetings can solidify the relationship and open doors for future opportunities. Tip: to avoid back and forth emails to set a time, either propose a list of dates or share an online booking link to book time in your calendar.
4. Attend and Host Follow-Up Events
Stay engaged by attending related follow-up events or hosting your own gatherings. Invite the individuals you've connected with to these events, fostering a community and providing a platform for continued networking.
5. Stay Active on Social Media
Use social media as a tool to maintain connections. Engage with their content—comment, share, or tag them in relevant posts. It keeps you visible and reinforces your interest in their work.
6. Gratitude and Authenticity
Express gratitude for their time and insights during the initial meeting. Authenticity is key in building relationships, so be genuine in your interactions and express sincere appreciation.
7. Cultivate Long-Term Relationships
Networking is not a one-time event. Nurture these connections by periodically checking in, offering assistance, or sharing resources that align with their interests. Consistent engagement helps build trust and rapport.
Remember, networking is about creating meaningful connections rather than collecting contacts. Approach each interaction with authenticity and a genuine interest in fostering relationships. By following these strategies, you can turn brief encounters at networking events into long-lasting, mutually beneficial connections that elevate both your business and professional growth.
P.S. Check out an upcoming Embrace networking event, I host networking events for entrepreneurs that create a safe space to cultivate deep connection and trust.