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 need for your product or service. Following up cements that newly formed connection so you must strike while the iron’s hot, as they say.
Newsletter are an easy, affordable and popular form of follow up, but not the most effective, nor memorable, due to all the emails folks are getting these days. Not the reaction you want from someone with whom you want to enhance a connection.
Fear not! Here are 10 unique, creative and easy ideas to make sure your networking event follow up is interesting, personal, cost-effective and packs a powerful, memorable punch.
- Email article urls of useful tips, advice or other information applicable to their industry.
- Provide an unsolicited work or character recommendation on LinkedIn or Google, in a status update on other social media platforms, in conversation with others, or give them a shout-out at a CERTUS networking event.
- Introduce them to a potential referral partner or needed resource. This helps them and the person you’ve connected them with.
- Mail a handwritten card to wish them a great day, a happy wedding or business anniversary or birthday, congratulate them on their new home, landing a new account or job. Be different… mail a card rather than sending an email.
- Call to 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.
- 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.
- Invite them to carpool to the next networking or a community event or seminar you think they would find beneficial. This will give you the chance to reconnect and learn more about them and for both of you to make new connections at the event you attend together.
- Purchase a gift card, that you can get easily online and delivers direct to their email inbox, for 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.
- 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.
- Put your talents to use and mail or personally deliver a handmade gift (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 loves tennis and sending him Andre Agassi’s autobiography will be received with a bigger smile than sending him a box of chocolates. But Susan might enjoy those chocolates!
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