10 Networking Tips to Boost Your Personal Brand: Tip #4 Be Sure to Follow-Up
Often the real value of a networking event is found as much in the follow-up as in the active participation at the event.
It’s important to always be sure to keep any promises you may have made to the individuals you met. It’s one of the initial ways you demonstrate your integrity and reliability – by doing what you say you are going to do.
Perhaps you promised to send an article of interest or a vendor resource to someone. Within the week, email or maybe call them with the info, along with the specific, targeted link to the source or your site.
LinkedIn is a great tool for follow-up
Do you make it a priority to thoughtfully grow your LinkedIn network? I teach my clients to use LinkedIn to send follow-up notes. Here’s what I usually send:
Hi Debbie, thanks again for all your (and the team’s) help at the meeting in San Ramon. I hope the rest of the event went well for you and that we can use LinkedIn to stay connected! Best, Sandy
And if you’re planning on doing some in-person follow-up there’s a big pet peeve out there; if you invite someone to join you for coffee to “pick their brain,” at the very least offer to pay for the coffee, and if you get to where they are and they already have their coffee, buy a $5 gift card when you get yours and hand it to them suggesting that their next drink be your treat. I recently noticed that Starbucks created THANK YOU gift cards that you can buy right there at the register…how easy is that?
Bonus Tip: If your follow-up is in the form of a thank you note for something you benefited from, or simply an “it was nice to have met you” note, unless they have asked for them, DO NOT include more than 1 copy of your business card with it. It’s presumptuous to believe that the receiver wants to refer you to people when you haven’t even established a level of trust with them. That’s a great way to negate the sincerity of your thank you note.
Be sure to show respect for those you contact. If your roles were reversed, what would make you responsive to follow-ups?
Become an “elite networker”
Another helpful share from a 2009 Upwardly Mobile study came from an “elite networker” CFO:
“It’s like a sales process. I pre-qualify when we first meet: do they impress me; do I want to be associated with them? Can we understand each other’s business and specialty? Is there some synchronicity? Whether or not, I always follow up with an email during the week if not sooner (and in the email, introduce another person to them for synergy). If they respond well to the email, and/or provide something back, then I put them in my 1st tier contact list, otherwise in my 2nd tier.”
To help make becoming an “elite neworker” even easier, and because of the 17,000+ emails I have access to, I thought I’d share a few email follow-up examples, some good and some bad:
EXAMPLE of good general follow-up:
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2016 at 11:38 AM Subject: Hotel Info
It was sure nice meeting you and Keith on Saturday at the dinner. My mom and I couldn’t believe we were there until 11:00—with good company you don’t care what time it is!
I deleted the email with the hotel info, but here is the link from the website I mentioned: http://www.americantuscany.com/
I know they are encouraging folks to visit in 2017.
I also attached “Tips for Tuscany” which I also found on the website. It is very informative, but a little overwhelming as well. I went to Italy last year for two months and just arranged everything on my own and found locals to be my language partners. I guess it would be good to have the formal teaching as well, and of course, the scholarship assistance would be nice too!
I look forward to seeing you on the ferry and getting together for a cup of coffee sometime. I am heading to your website now to check out Bella Domain Media.
Enjoy your day. Ciao,
EXAMPLE of bad reaching back into the archives of contacts:
Mike McLovin has sent you a message.
Subject: catching up
Greetings! How are you?
What have you been up to? It’s been a while!
I don’t think we have talked since my wife and I were bitten by the Red Cross triathlon bug. Well, we were, and we lived to tell about it.
Other than that, nothing much. We are still trying to finish off our fundraising— that’s sure to happen soon.
And I’m ready to leave McLovin Solutions…but first I have to find gainful employment—or just employment—but gainful would be nice.
Let’s have coffee and bran muffins or something sometime. No more donuts for me! Well, maybe a few.
Let me know what you’re up to.
The Good, The Bad, and The Deleted
Why is the first example good? It opened with some kind words and a reminder about how we met, then she provided the info she had promised to, and even threw out the idea of getting together again.
Why is the second so bad? I hadn’t had any direct communication with the guy in over a year, and he is only a casual acquaintance at best (never met his wife), so asking how I was seemed odd in this context (would I really just tell him that I had the flu for ten days and was now struggling with a household move? And furthermore, would he really care?), and then passively hinting at the need for help with a donation, AND help finding a job (again). Not even an offer to buy me the coffee or the aforementioned bran muffin, so that he can properly fill me in on what his real agenda is, and then finally a close of “let me know what you’re up to” which just doesn’t read as someone really all that interested.
Would you be eager to reach back to this person? In my overflowing inbox, these are the types of communications that get archived or just deleted.
Let’s get back to the good, though…
Here’s an EXAMPLE of sending an opportunity:
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2016, 9:03 AM
To: Nicole Davis
Subject: Re: Investor Focus – September 2015
Hi Nicole, hope you had a nice Labor Day weekend. Thought you might like to contact this reporter to share your re-branding story…could be some good free press for you. As a PR/marketing type, I’m on a listserv where I receive these types of opps daily, but don’t know the writers personally. See below…Sandy
9) Summary: Recently Re-Branded Your Company?
Category: Business & Finance
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Put RECENTLY RE-BRANDED YOUR COMPANY? in sub)
Media Outlet: Anonymous
Specific Geographic Region: N
Deadline: 03:19 pm EASTERN – 19 September
Query: Looking to hear from small business owners/entrepreneurs who recently rebranded their company logos/packaging.
Especially interested in hearing from those who originally designed their logo themselves or had a bad experience with an amateur designer, before seeking help from a professional designer. What motivated you to opt for a professional design? What impact is your new look having on your business? What advice would you offer other entrepreneurs who are thinking about rebranding their company’s look?
Send in your story/tips, before and after pictures of your logo (optional), and a brief synopsis of your company for consideration.
From: Nicole Davis
Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2016 at 4:06 PM
Subject: RE: Equity Focus – September 2015
To: Sandy JK/BD email@example.com
Thanks! I appreciate you thinking of me! I also subscribe to HARO but don’t always get to read them each time they come out!
I hope you’re doing well!
EXAMPLE of good introduction emails for two people that haven’t met:
From: Peter Harris<firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, Feb 13, 2016, at 1:40 PM Subject: Sandy, meet Neil (and vice versa) To: Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Neil Best
Ever since you graciously lent your insight to Moodio, I’ve been waiting for some way to reciprocate. To that end, I want to introduce Sandy Jones-Kaminski, a biz- dev wiz, and uber-connector. Jeff Lordon and I worked with her closely for most of last year, and she continually impressed me. As I was looking over your website, it struck me that Sandy might be a phenomenal resource, either to you or your clients.
Sandy, Neil used to be the Director of Product Management at Teamstar, and my first assignment there involved working with him closely for several months. It was a great experience that taught me a lot. Neil was one of the smartest people at Teamstar, and my first assignment there involved working with him closely for several months. It was a great experience that taught me a lot. Neil was one of the smartest people at Teamstar, and I have to say I enjoyed working with him more than just about anyone else.
Just wanted to connect two people I respect a lot, hoping it helps everybody in the long run.
From: Sandy Jones-Kaminski
Date: Tue, Mar 17, 2016, at 6:36 PM
Subject: connecting the 2 of you
To: Marcela Morel; Kim Davis
Ladies, by way of this email, Marcela, one of my fave graphic designers, meet Kim, and Kim, one of my fav website pros, meet Marcela. If you check each other’s profiles on LinkedIn & sites out, you’ll likely see why the 2 of you should possibly offer to be referral partners for each other, but if not, no worries either.
Sometimes folks I connect don’t see what’s truly possible immediately or their plans have changed, but most of the time it’s pretty obvious.
Marcel Morel – http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcelamorel
Kim Davis, www.devwire.com
EXAMPLE of a good introduction for two people that need each other:
This is an example of an email intro for a new connection I made at one of my PIF Party networking events:
Subject: Terry please meet Sloan re: LinkedUp advertising
Hi Terry, by way of this email please meet Sloan Smith. Sloan’s a friend and is currently contracting on-site at Macrosoft, and looking for an intro to someone that can talk to her about LinkedUp advertising. I knew LinkedUp’s been working with areas within Macrosoft already, so I was fairly certain you could help her or would be able to direct her to someone on your team. I’ve supplied you both w/each other’s contact info below, but don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help in any other way.
w: 415/555-1212 m: 810/555-1212
Vice President, Advertising Sales, LinkedUp Corporation
Bonus Tip: Before you meet, do your homework on them or their business, especially if you need their help. Most people find an informal connecting meeting a huge waste of time if it starts with the dreaded question, “So, Samantha, what can you tell me about Acme Enterprises?” Especially when it’s all there on a website or within LinkedIn.
A word of caution: Many people resent those who appear from nowhere and want to pick their brain. But some offer that they would be impressed if the person had at least read their blog, and then maybe commented or shared it via social media or even sent them something relevant to their business.
Draft your own version of a follow-up email, and before sending it to any new contacts, send it to a few trusted friends asking for feedback on succinctness and sincerity.
If you have questions about this post, please feel free to contact me via belladomain.com.
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