How to Follow Up With Networking Contacts (Without Being Annoying)
You just made a great connection at a networking event. You feel that “burden to meet someone” lift from your shoulders and decide to relax with a drink at the bar. On your way over, you realize: I have no reason to contact this person again. How am I going to follow up?
Don’t panic. You can still save the connection and build a solid relationship with a series of “light touches.” This helps you to stay in someone’s mind without (literally) being in their face.
Here are a few touch points to try:
- They mentioned an upcoming work event, client meeting, training, conference, workshop or other event — send an email asking how the event went.
- Their alma mater or favorite sports team won an important game — congratulate them.
- They have an upcoming vacation or staycation or are in the process of choosing a vacation destination — send a recommendation or a link to an article you found on the destination.
- They are battling an illness or aiding a sick parent, spouse, friend or child — check in and send wishes for a speedy recovery.
- They have a new baby or a baby on the way, or found out if they were having a boy or a girl — congratulate them and offer some nice memories of your own if you’re a parent. Be careful with the advice here – they are getting a lot of it.
- It is their birthday or a child’s birthday, or they’re attending or throwing a birthday party — ask how it went.
What to Do When You Don’t Know That Much
Forgot to jot down the details of your conversation? Here are some additional follow-ups to effectively (but not annoyingly) stay on someone’s radar:
- Create connections for the person by introducing them to a vendor who can help them or to a potential client.
- Invite them to or let them know about upcoming events they might enjoy or benefit from.
- Send your regards through a mutual friend.
- Congratulate them (on a job promotion, securing a new client, etc).By the way, an easy way to stay on top of news regarding your contacts is a service called Newsle. Newsle sends you a message whenever someone you have set up an alert for is mentioned in the press.
Keeping Up With the Details
Before we leave this topic, I want to quickly touch upon one final thing: how to keep track of your contacts’ details.
One trick I use is that after I have had a conversation with someone, I quickly jot down a few key points from the conversation on the back of their business card (if I’m at an event) or in a notebook if I met the person for lunch or at a meeting. Then, I transfer these notes to their “contact” record in my computer when I get back to my office.
How have you learned to keep in touch with your network? Share your tips in the comments!