How Small Business Owners Can Network Better by Mastering the Follow Up
Networking is an important part of growing a small business, no matter what the industry. The reason why is because so much of business relies on trust built up by face to face interactions. Going to networking events can expose your business to a wide range of potentially valuable business connections, from complementary businesses looking for joint branding opportunities, to new bases of customers that you might not have thought to reach out to on your own. Getting good at creating new connections is only one half of networking, and arguably, isn’t as important as what comes after the event; the follow up. Mastering the follow up is what will allow your business to put the connections that were made during your time spent at events and meet ups to work for your business. Here are a few ways of following up that can help capitalize on the momentum that small business owners create for themselves.
Write a follow up that contextualizes your meeting and proposes further follow up steps. In the same way that a marketing paper includes a call to action in order to turn a reader into a customer, so should your follow up emails propose next steps for your relationships that can start turning the ideas you discussed earlier into a reality. It is all too common for people to create elaborate plans while they are together and then never do anything to follow up on them. That’s why proposing ways that they can follow up yourself can help you get a better response rate and actually build on your new relationships.
Comment on the conversation that you had and consider introducing a new thought. People meet a lot of other people during networking events. That is the idea, after all, so sometimes a person who you spoke with will have trouble remembering who you are unless you make a reference to something that set you apart from the rest of the crowd. In particular, people such as VC’s can have a hard time remembering people without prompting given the fact that they are often among the most approached people at networking events. Make a reference to something that you talked about, and instead of rehashing it, consider making it more interesting by expanding on a point or offering an interesting example of a principle that was mentioned. Showing that you are engaged and appreciate the other person’s point of view can help create stronger incentive to follow up.
Photo Credit to mpclemens on Flickr