Here I sit, the queen of follow up, writing a post about follow up because the past few weeks I have failed miserably at it. Everyone blocks time on their calendar to attend an event, whether it be a trade show, conference or a professional organization’s networking event. But rarely do they schedule time to do the follow up. I always recommend putting time on the calendar the next day after the event to sort through the business cards and a take appropriate actions. But the past few weeks I have been so busy, I now have 3 stacks of business cards from recent events that are collecting dust. Well this weekend I plan to do something about that and I thought I would share my plans with you and give you the list of follow up activities so that you can use them the next time you have follow up to do from networking.
- Schedule time to do the follow up! The very most important tip and the one I failed to do recently. Block at least two opportunities for follow up in the 2 to 3 days following the event. That way if something comes up and usurps the first scheduled time you have another planned.
- Pre-plan you follow up. Think about why you are going to the event, what you hope to accomplish, the types of people you will meet and use that information to decide what you will do to follow up. You may end up drafting an email that you can tailor after the event or prepare a postcard with a specific message. Or you may craft a message that you will cut and paste into a LinkedIn or Facebook email. You might write an article that pertains to the event and prepare to post it on your blog and then email that link out after the event or post it on the corresponding LinkedIn group.
- Use your smartphone. This works really well when I am at a conference. As I collect cards throughout the day I use the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn apps on my phone to connect with people. I also use Card Munch, which allows you to take a photo of the card with your smartphone and add it to your database.
- Hire Someone. If you don’t have an assistant, hire someone to enter the contacts into your database so that you can easily contact them. I do have an assistant, so I write on the business cards and then bundle them together with a note of where I collected them. Then my assistant enters the data and a note for each that reminds me where I met them and any notes I may have written on the card.