Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Start networking like a pro today, part of Growing Your Small Business with LinkedIn.
- [Instructor] As you become more active on LinkedIn, and start growing your network, you'll find that many of the connections you make are from meeting people in person at live networking events and conferences. While attending these events is a great way to strengthen existing connections, build new ones and demonstrate the value you provide, there's more to executing a successful networking venture than simply showing up. How you prepare for the event ahead of time and how you follow up are both critical aspects of growing your small business. With that in mind, here are a few strategies you can use to prepare for networking events beforehand and effectively follow up afterward.
When you are planning your networking activities, identify the events that your prospective clients and referral partners attend. You can watch for event announcements on the LinkedIn profile and company pages of event hosts in your industry, and you can also ask your connections to pass along event info. Second, be purposeful about your networking activities. You don't wanna attend random events just to say that you were there. As a busy professional, you want to invest your time in events where your ideal clients and referral partners are and where your business has specific value to provide.
Third, develop the proper mindset. Before you set foot in the event venue, be clear about your objectives. Decide in advance to set reasonable expectations for how many leads you collect and that you won't attempt any hard sells. Rather, tell yourself that you are there to make simple instructions, make clear the value you provide at the appropriate opportunity, and just have a great experience there. Now, after the event has ended, you probably have several new referral partners you'd like to connect with on LinkedIn and maybe even a few solid leads to follow up with, which is great but you still need a solid strategy for taking decisive follow-up action, while furthering the conversation in a natural way.
Here are some tips for your follow-up strategy. Make an appointment on your calendar that's specifically dedicated to following up. This is actually harder than it seems for busy professionals who can get caught up in the daily challenges of running their business. Schedule that appointment the following day for one hour when you will email, call, or send a LinkedIn message to follow up on leads. Doing it this way means your follow-up is no longer left to chance, but instead, a specific block of time is allotted to address this critical marketing task. And be sure to follow up within 48 hours.
The key to successful follow-up is to strike while the iron is hot, and not the lead or potential connection grow cold. If your contact is a LinkedIn connection, send a short friendly message. Be clear about your intentions, and share your objective to continue the great conversation you had with them. Outline the next best step, which might be a phone call, a coffee date, or an in-person meeting. If the new contact has become a solid lead, offer something of value in exchange for their time. A free consultation, strategy call or digital download are all great follow-up resources for nurturing the relationship.
Remember, unless the prospect is talking about buying right away, leave the selling for a more appropriate time.
- Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
- Building your brand
- Creating a strong network
- Networking like a pro
- Turning leads into clients