The ABCs of Referral Marketing – F is for ……….follow up!

by Sandra Hart on August 31, 2012 · 1 comment

So you’ve been to a networking event you’ve met some great contacts, you have got lots of business cards, you had some fantastic conversations. What now?

Are you sitting in the office the next day just waiting for that phone to ring, the inbox to fill up, and people to call you with orders? I hope not because you may be disappointed. Networking is about building relationships with people, and a critical element is reconnecting with people in an appropriate way, a lot depends on the quality of the follow up.

So after a networking event there are four things you can do:

  1. Nothing,  no follow up, no contact, no debrief…. – this is not recommended if you want results from your networking
  2. Drop all the business cards in a database and send some SPAM  – this is also not recommended , in fact you would probably get better results with option 1!
  3. Follow up with some of the people,  some of the time – this is brings inconsistency to the process and will have an effect on results but definitely better than option 1 & 2
  4. Systematic follow up – this builds up your credibility and shows you being both professional and consistent

Ok so if you have no system currently for follow up where do you start? The first thing to note is that a system doesn’t need to be complicated. At this point you are focusing on consistency, where you know that you have followed up with specific contacts and fulfilled your promises.

Start with a debrief from the event where you prioritise your contacts into those you need to follow up within a day and those who you can fit into your schedule later. Decide on how you are going to follow up, perhaps you are going to connect via social media, send an email, call or send a personal note. Whatever your method of communication, here are some keys points to note when you are following up:

  • Mention your meeting and the conversation you had, references which will bring you back into the person’s memory are crucial
  • The more specific you can be about something that came up in your conversation the better, perhaps there is something that they were animated about or you have a connection in some way
  • Suggest some way to continue the conversation (unless you have already done this at the event in which case this communication is to firm up the details)
  • Attach an article or a link which might be of interest to the other person, or perhaps it was something you discussed when you met (this should not be your marketing collateral or any form of selling on your behalf unless it was specifically requested by the contact)
  • What is the next step you are going to take, where are you going from here? If this is appropriate, it may be as simple as ”if I can be of help to you, please give me a call”.

All too often we are happy to spend time at an event, make contact with people, collect their information and leave it at that. This will do nothing to further a relationship, the only way to ensure that the relationship will develop is to follow up appropriately with sincerity. Being proactive and consistent about follow up will set you apart for the majority of other business people. Don’t rely on the other person to do this – it requires action from you.

I would love to hear about your systems for follow up and how you manage the process?

Sandra Hart
Sandra Hart runs BNI, Irelands leading business referral organisation, she trains and mentors members and leads a team who enable local business people to find new clients and generate new business. She is an expert on the topics of networking, word of mouth marketing and referrals.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stanley Rao September 21, 2012 at 08:55

Good post and a very informative one

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