Networking is vital to keep your business and yourself growing. Great things happen when people connect, and you’ve got to keep connecting. This is what networking events are for. But all your time there goes to waste if you don’t follow up with people you meet.
In fact, research shows only 20% of sales leads are followed up. That’s 80% of potential opportunities lost without a trace because we ignore or delay following up.
Don’t follow up and you’re going nowhere toward building trusting relationships. Success won’t follow because no one knows who you are.
What’s more, only 2% of sales happen after the first contact. The other 98% only put down their money once they believe they can trust you.
Here are a few tips on following up with contacts to create a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
Tips for Following Up with a Contact from a Networking Event
You only have to show value to break the ice during a follow-up and then the conversation will run freely.
But sometimes, we wait too long to do it – simply because we’re either too busy, distracted, or focused on more immediate goals.
Remember, 81% of all sales happen on the 5th to 12th contact.
So make it a priority to get in touch, and then stay in touch after the first contact at an event.
The first follow-up gives you a chance to ask them a question or even arrange a one-on-one meeting.
Timing is important when writing an email or a letter to a contact you met earlier at an event. It’s best to do it within 24 hours. But if you must wait, don’t take longer than a week.
Show your appreciation for their time and include details of the conversation you had with them.
Here are some more tips to help you follow-up on those leads like a pro.
Get a Card and Link up via LinkedIn: Double Up
LinkedIn is the world’s largest networking site for professionals. It has more than 610 million members, so your new contacts are most probably on there.
Invite them to connect with you on this platform. Seek to introduce them to others in the industry or who could help them out. Together everyone can increase their reach and influence in the network.
However, don’t just add them and forget the. Instead use one of the many free and paid tools to develop and nurture relationships.
When you visit a personal profile on LinkedIn, Discoverly tells you important information about them that can’t be found on the profile. For example, it will let you know how they use other social media platforms and if you have any mutual friends with this person on Facebook.
Crystal gives you free communication advice. The app reviews a LinkedIn profile and provides insights into that person’s personality. It’s really quite cool!
With such powerful information in hand, you’ll find it easier to follow up and communicate with the person in an appropriate manner.
Schedule a Call
A HubSpot study found 78% of all decision-makers have taken an appointment after a cold call. And since you have already met your contact at the event, your chances should be even better.
Arrange for a 15-minute phone call and explain how you can help them through your services or products.
Solidify your connection with them by doing some research beforehand, so you don’t waste their time. In short, your contact should feel valued and respected once the call is over. They should feel like you are genuinely interested in furthering a mutually beneficial relationship.
Schedule a Meeting
Ask to set up a one-on-one meeting, by calling or emailing them.
When asking for the meeting, be specific. Don’t just say, “Would you like meet and discuss this?”
Tell them, “I have a bit of time on December 4th. How about coffee around 11? I can stop by or meet up somewhere near you.”
If they’re tied to the office, then you’ll have to go there, but a neutral location can serve you better. It’s more friendly and gets rid of the “let’s do business” frame. A nearby cafe, drink stand, park, anywhere where you can hear each other and not be too distracted.
Make sure you’re clear about your purpose for the meeting from the get-go, so the other party knows the agenda, can prepare, and won’t feel trapped.
Studies show that poorly organized meetings have unclear intentions and can lead to confusion for 43% of the participants, defeating the entire purpose.
Then ask and listen, ask and listen. Don’t sell, just find out how you can work together.
Make It a Habit to Give First
Consider this: you meet the marketing director of a mid-sized manufacturing company at an event. He mentions that most of his staff aren’t using the new CRM.
When you call or email him later, bring up CRMs again and learn more about his situation.
Send him a great article on how to get your team on board with new software. You could also recommend a good CRM that works well for manufacturers.
This frames you as someone knowledgeable and helpful. That’s a good position to be in, because people will want to come back to you again and again.
Make Follow-Up Smarter with Tools
A major problem with a pile of traditional business cards is that we can never find the right one when we need it.
One of the fundamental rules of following up is contacting the right person at the right time for the right reason – and apps like Eight can help you do just that.
This contact management app scans business cards using highly accurate OCR and machine learning to digitize the information. That keeps you from having to tap it all in manually (and probably make a few mistakes). Then you can dash off a message to them or even call straight from the app. Business cards have highly accurate data, and Eight gets it all in your phone (and in the cloud, so you can access it when you upgrade).
You can also add notes and tags to categorize your contacts. For instance, everyone you meet at the MarTech conference can be grouped into a category. No more digging around for a contact or trying to place who was who.
Network, Connect, Scan, Build, Grow
Networking is time-consuming, but if you take small and consistent steps every day, it can pay off massively in the future. Reaching out to your contacts will always be worth your while.
Address them by their names and remain professional at all times. Check-in with them regularly after the initial meeting – with time, your contacts will become a meaningful connection.
Use some of the actionable tips mentioned above and see how well it works out for you.
Deploy powerful apps like Eight to keep your network seamlessly organized and only one touch away.
You’ll never waste your networking efforts again.