I was recently asked my opinion on the timing of follow-up at a networking event.
“What was the proper protocol? When should the person seek personal information? How soon after the meeting can a follow up phone call be placed?”
These are excellent questions and come with answers you may not be comfortable with.
Attending Networking Events is a good idea as long as you have the proper objectives in mind. These formal get-togethers ARE NOT intended to sell your wares. They ARE NOT scheduled to acquire bags of business cards, so when you return home you can call people to sell your wares. They are not tradeshows. So why attend in the first place?
It may be true that nothing good happens until you sell something, but this simple credo doesn’t mean you can speed up the process. And “sales” is a process. And “sales” takes time to simmer. You know you can’t cook a steak by simply turning up the burners to “high.” This results in a burnt, flavorless disaster. Slow and steady does it. And networking is just the initial step, and nothing more.
Nothing good is going to happen until I feel comfortable and elects to trust you and your professionalism. And yes, there must be an interest in what you offer. This all takes time. Your purpose for attending Networking Events is to introduce yourself to as many people as possible with a single mission in mind. You will want to dissect the group into those you feel drawn to as a result of their professionalism, personality, confidence level, and business acumen. Trust me, there are not too many candidates in the room who fit this bill.
As an offshoot to this strategy, a couple of things may result.
- You will find yourself looking forward to attending future events.
- You will meet more meaningful business associates who think and act like you. And remember that people enjoy the company of people who exhibit the same traits and beliefs they do. (But contrary viewpoints can also refreshing. You don’t just want to meet another “you.”
But what about those business cards you collected last night? Personally, I would send them an email before calling. I would word my email by first applauding their refreshing position on whatever it was you talked about, and only then invite them to a cup of coffee to continue the discussion. (A brief note on the back of each card will refresh your memory of he topic discussed.)
In all probability, you will not receive many replies. Send a second email worded the exact same way three days later. If still no reply, start looking forward to that next event where you can put into motion your new strategy… finding the good guys!
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.