Last week, we looked at how to categorize your networking contacts in a way that works for you. Now, let’s talk about how you can follow up effectively with your new contacts. I’ll use my system as an example, since it works well for me, and you can use these ideas to develop your own system.
Meeting people at networking functions is the easy part, since everyone is there for the same purpose; it’s staying in touch with them after that can be challenging. This is where many people get nervous, unsure what the boundaries are and how to be assertive without being a pain in the neck.
In this e-mail, I clearly invite the person to sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or respond via e-mail (or all three). Some people take the liberty of adding new contacts to their e-mail lists right away; often, they’ll send the new contact an e-mail with a note explaining that “I’ve added you to my newsletter/mailing list/blog, but I won’t be offended if you unsubscribe.”
When I meet someone face to face for coffee or lunch, I always take the time to send a handwritten thank you note I had made with my logo on it.
One question that often arises is that of persistence. How many times should you try to reach out to a contact before you give them up for lost? The answer is… It depends.
Networking doesn’t have to be hard work, make if fun. Out of ten people I reached out to last week, only one replied directly to me via e-mail. I followed up with the group again and ended up meeting four others in person, which led to three more introductions.
As a recruiter, I pursued Fidelity Investments for a year and a half before I won the contract able to place my people in their in-house advertising department. They kept having turnover and everytime I had a new contact, three months later, someone else was in charge. I ended up placing their highest-paid Creative Director at the time. A few years later, my contact who use to work at Fidelity, searched my name on line and called me looking for help and complimenting on what I did job I did back then.
How many times you follow up is a matter of personal choice. I usually send two or three e-mails and/or phone calls to potential contacts after I meet them. If I don’t hear something from them—an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, an e-mail, a note on Facebook—I tear up their business card. After all, there’s persistence, and then there’s wasting your time.
If you need help sorting through the networking process, feel free to give me a call. After all, I’ve been there. You might even drop me into your contact sphere!
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit www.CareerLifeBalance.net or http://www.coachdq.com today or for more information email me.