By Ruth Lauber
I attend many networking events, mixers, charity events and trade shows. It is important to meet people, many of whom are potential clients. What happens after you trade business cards? Do they go into a drawer or box? Do you forget about everyone you have met except for a few promising leads? That is a big mistake. It is very important to follow through with everyone. Even if they can’t use your product or service, they know other people and connect you with them. But you need to follow through.
I always carry a pen and pad of paper to write a note immediately after meeting someone. Others write on business cards. Smart phones have a voice memo app to record notes. There is nothing more frustrating than to go through business cards and not remember a single detail about any person you met.
There is a debate about sending an email versus making a phone call versus sending a handwritten note. A handwritten note is a nice touch and a phone call might be intrusive, but I recommend to email. With an email, you can also use a very valuable tool to really connect with people. It is called social media.
Here is an example. You meet Jane Smith, vice president of XYZ Company at a mixer. You exchange business cards. You talk and discover that Jane is very passionate about rescuing German shepherd dogs. Later, sitting in front of your computer to follow through, you look up Jane on social media. Not in a creepy stalker fashion, but to gather information. You discover that she recently participated in a 5K run to benefit German shepherd dogs’ rescue. Now you have a little bit of information.
You are then ready to follow through and email Jane. I would write the following:
Subject Line: From Ruth Lauber whom you met at ABC Mixer
With an email, I can include links. Also, it is more immediate and allows her to respond, rather than read a note and put it in a drawer. If I don’t receive a response, I can follow through with a phone call.
Did you notice something else? Along with rescuing dogs, she is a runner, so I gave the option of healthier dining without telling her that I read her social media profile, posts and tweets. People like to do business with those they have connected with on some level. I reached out, gave her a way to let people know about her passion, and subconsciously acknowledged her athletic lifestyle.
Please don’t become a stalker or overly persistent. After you reach out, if there is no response, let it go. If you follow through with everyone, and I do mean everyone, you will be busy with new business and maybe even some new friends.