Every successful business owner wants to have a strong professional network. Attending one networking event is not enough to build the popularity of your business. You need to attend several events and build strong relationships with those you meet to make people feel confident about recommending your business. You want to make sure to build your credibility and trustworthiness in your professional network, but how can you do that? Attending a networking event leaves you with a pocket full of business cards, but how do you make sure they remember you? Decision makers are extremely busy people, and they meet hundreds of individuals in a networking event. It’s almost impossible to remember each individual. When you send a follow-up message after your interaction, you’re improving your chances at building a long-term relationship with people.
Getting people’s attention is important and in this post, we explore how you can build your credibility to create a strong network that helps you grow your business. We discover how you can create a bond with people, so they feel more comfortable in recommending your business and perfect the fine art of follow-up.
Send a follow-up message within 24 hours
People have a short-term memory, and your aim should be to send a follow-up message within 24 hours of making the first contact. Let people know that you’re glad you met them, thank them for their time and tell them that you would like to invest time in getting to know them better. It’s preferable to send emails or text messages over calling somebody you just met. It shows that you’re respectful and you value their time.
In your message, you can mention a conversation you had during the event, offer to help them with something, or ask for some feedback. When you mention specifics of your conversation, it helps them in recognizing you and tells them that you were truly paying attention during the conversation. You can also consider sending additional information or links around the topics as a way to get their attention.
Connect on LinkedIn
When you’re trying to build a professional network, LinkedIn is the best social media to connect. You can add your LinkedIn QR code in your follow-up message so they can easily locate you on the social media channel. But before sending out the connection requests, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and consistent with the information you shared.
Treat your LinkedIn profile as your online professional brochure. Add a professional summary on your profile, and carefully curate your LinkedIn summary to speak about your industry experience.
Set up a one-on-one meeting
Set up a follow-up meeting soon after your first contact. A great way to set up a convenient meeting time is to create your own personal online booking calendar. You can simply share the link to your schedule in your email, and request the person to set up a convenient time to chat. With an online booking system, it’s convenient to cancel or reschedule, and with automated reminders from the system, you can ensure you and your prospects are both reminded about the meeting well ahead of time.
Each individual has specific qualities and special interests. You can create your own personal relationship management file where you can track the details of new individuals you meet at networking events. You can choose to store some basic details like name, phone, business name, email ID, website link, which networking event you met them and when, when did you last speak to them, the medium of connecting and adding special things you learn about them to the list.
Every time you plan to set up a meeting with the individual, you can simply locate their details in your personal database and remember the important details about them. When you remember information about people, they feel that you care and they tend to trust you more. This tip works great for building long-term relationships.
Keep it short
Remember, keep your communication short and crisp. Nowadays, business professionals receive thousands of messages each day via different channels like WhatsApp, email, and text. You cannot expect them to read a lengthy message from someone they just met and still stay interested in the conversation. Hence, it is advisable to keep your message short, crisp and to the point.
When writing a follow-up email, first determine the objective of your email. Do you seek more information, do you want to request a meeting, or do you just want to thank them? Open your email with the context of where and how you met, and mention your previous conversation topic. Finish the mail with a call to action text which will urge them to take the action you expect. For example, when you want to invite them for a meeting, add a QR code for your schedule and ask them to set up the meeting on your schedule.
Know when to quit
Remember not to send any follow-up emails on the weekend or on Monday. People tend to check their mail less often on the weekends, and if you send it on a Monday then there’s a chance that your mail will get buried under the important emails in their inbox. Send the follow-up message at a convenient time when the individual is more likely to read the message. In case you do not receive the reply for your first email, you can send a reminder email after 3-5 days to check if they received the email.
If you don’t receive a response to your third email, wait for another week and send another follow-up email. When you don’t receive a response via email, you can try reaching out to them via LinkedIn. Make sure the person is active on LinkedIn before sending out a message to them via LinkedIn. However, if all your messages go unanswered, it’s better not to send any more follow-up emails or it may end up irritating the individual. You can take the cue and simply end your attempt with a “Thank You for your time. It was a pleasure meeting you” note. If your efforts go unanswered, then it’s probably better to quit and invest your time in prospects who are mutually interested in knowing about your business.
Keep a tab on the people you network with. Understand what kind of content people in your network might be interested in, and share relevant content via your social media channels. You can engage with them on social media by liking, sharing and commenting on the content they share.
You can also set up calls to catch up about industry news for contacts you have met at least twice or the ones who have chosen to stay in touch with you. Another great way to stay connected is to congratulate them on birthdays, new job or any promotions.