You’ve followed our advice and made some great connections at a conference. You get their business cards, smile, and walk away. Successful networking, right? Wrong. That person does not count as a fan or a business connection until you follow up.
Unfortunately, most people are not so good at the follow up. According to networking blogger Liz Lynch, most people never contact her after getting her business card.
This is a HUGE problem for the self-published author. We’ve already talked about the mistake we made by not using our mailing list to publicize our book. Not following up with your new contacts is very similar. Why not build your book’s audience with the people you’ve already met?
Because contacting someone you barely know is scary, here are some tips to make the follow up easier:
Even if you exchanged business cards at that conference, don’t expect the other person to make the first move. Remember that most people are terrible at the follow up — it’s up to you to make this connection last.
You may be exhausted. You may have a billion things to do. But if you put off contacting your new contacts for a few weeks, they may not be interested anymore. Worse, they may not remember you. Try to connect with people within a week of meeting them.
Help them Remember You
Even if it’s only been a few days, give your contact a few details about how you met and what you talked about. Be sure to mention something you learned from them so they know you were listening. It makes things more personal and it will help them distinguish you from all of the people they met at the event or conference.
What do you want from this person? A critique partner? Another name for your mailing list? Access to their professional network? Let them know, politely, exactly why you are contacting them.
Offer them something in return
Networking should never be entirely one-sided. Think about how you could help your new contacts achieve their goals as well.
- Think about giving them some perks
Do you have a cover design to release? What about a really juicy excerpt from your book? Giving contacts you’ve already met a sneak peek in your follow up e-mail may keep them coming back for more.
- Give them easy access to your social media and website
You built your online presence for a reason. Make sure your email includes information about where to find more information.
- Follow, Friend, and Subscribe to them
If you want them to be active on your social media, you should be active on theirs as well.
- Let them know when you will be in their neighborhood
Think about keeping a spreadsheet or a notebook with information about where all of your contacts are from and where you met them.That way, when you go to the next event you can reach out to the people who are already in the area or who have been to that event before.
Readers, what other networking tips have worked for you?