Follow-up is the most important part of networking, yet it’s often overlooked. In this video, Dorie shows you how to make the task of follow-up manageable, including prioritizing your contacts, deciding how frequently you should be in touch, and understanding the wide variety of methods you can use to reconnect.
- The sexy part of networking is meeting new people. But the more valuable part is keeping in touch and deepening your existing relationships. Let's discuss some ways that you can do that effectively. It can sometimes be confusing as to how to follow-up with someone, especially someone you don't know well. What can you say that adds value or doesn't seem stalkerish? Think back to your initial meeting or meetings with them, and try to write down key details you remember. The town they live in, their favorite sports team or hobbies.
This can be useful because it provides you with opportunities and good excuses to get in touch. If their team wins the Super Bowl, for instance, you can shoot them a quick note. If their town gets flooded, you can email them to see if they're okay. If their company wins a large contract that gets reported in the newspaper, you can congratulate them. These are all very natural ways to be in touch that don't seem strange or out of place. For each key contact, think about how often you should be in touch. You probably don't want to pester a potential client every week if they have told you they won't be making a decision for another six months.
But you certainly don't want to let too much time go by, or you risk them forgetting you. Perhaps a monthly check-in call or email would be optimal there. For each key contact, write down how frequently you want to make sure you're in touch with them. Some online CRMs, or customer relationship management software systems, can track this for you, but you can also choose to do it manually and keep track in a spreadsheet if you prefer. You don't always have to follow-up in the same way. It's actually more effective if you use different strategies so you can test what people respond best to.
My preference is for people to email me, but you can stay in touch with colleagues in a huge variety of ways. If someone's a dedicated social media user, perhaps you can tweet him periodically. Another colleague might be old school and prefer actual telephone calls. For someone you'd really like to prioritize, perhaps you can invite them out for a meal regularly. And just about everyone these days appreciates handwritten cards, which should become quite rare. The method of follow-up you use matters far less than the fact that you do it. Most people take a wham-bam approach to networking, constantly seeking new people to meet but never properly following-up with the people they've met in the past.
Doing so will set you apart and make a powerful impression.
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- Prioritizing contacts
- Building meaningful connections
- Managing your time
- Hosting networking events
- Networking on social media