How to follow up with people and be effective at it is just as important as being efficient in the process.
Have you ever realized that you are just too busy to follow up? Or have you realized that you didn't follow up because you were just too busy to do it? Well you are not alone. Apparently, 80% of people never follow up with someone that they have met while networking. 80%! And while that is the number I see touted in many books and articles, from my own experience, I think the # is even higher.
So, what can you do to make sure that you are doing proper follow up with people that you meet while networking?
First of all you need to put a system into place. When you have a system, you know exactly what to do, when to do it, and most importantly how to do it. And, when you have a system you can be effectively efficient.
Here's a suggested system for you to follow:
1. Make it your goal to meet only 2 or 3 people at an event that you are going to follow up with. By limiting the # of people you plan to follow up with you can be more effective in actually getting the follow up done.
2. Take cards only from people that you actually plan to follow up with. This prevents you from over extending your ability to respond and it prevents you from making apparent commitments to people that you have no intention of following up with.
3. Set aside white space time after an event for proper self debriefing of what the connections were and how you intend to follow up with the people whose cards you have in hand.
4. Have blank greeting cards and stamps on hand in your office or car so that you can write a quick thank you note within 24 hours of meeting a person at an event.
5. Write the card and send it in the mail within 24 hours. Remember to make this about them not about you. Thank them for the conversation and mention something that they said that you remember and make a favorable comment along those lines. Resist all temptation to go into selling mode. This is not the time or place. This is about building relationship!
6. Now that the card is in the mail. Send the person an email and let them know that you appreciated spending time with them at the event and mention 1 interesting thing that you remember from your conversation. Make this about them ... not you.
7. If you promised to send them information, like an article or a resource be sure to include that in the email. Again, this is not about you making a sales pitch .. it is about you creating rapport and building relationship.
8. Based on your discussion, if appropriate, follow up with a phone call to arrange a meeting. Have an outline handy of what you would like to converse about. Make it about them. How you can help them. Add value to the relationship by offering ways to assist them. Can you provide them with a referral? With a resource? Is there something you can collaborate on? Is there someone that you can introduce them to?
When you start with the end in mind and when you have a system in place you will find it much easier to do the follow up that you intend to do. Your systematic approach will allow you to be efficient and effective.
Go make someone else happy ... it's all in how you follow up!