I’m going to file this post under ‘you know you should do this, but ARE you doing it?’ Because if you’re not, you’re almost certainly losing money!
Follow up after networking events
I’m a regular networker (and by regular I mean I attend networking events regularly, rather that I’m normal 🙂 ) and it boggles my mind how few people follow up afterwards. If you go to the same networking event every week or every month then sure, people will remember you. But if you go less frequently the people you spoke to will forget you as soon as they get back to their desks. That business card you gave them will end up in a dusty pile of other cards or go straight in the recycling. Attending networking events is time consuming, so why bother if you’re not going to get any benefit from it?
So when you’ve been out networking you could try one of the following:
- Drop the person an email to say ‘nice to meet you’, making sure your website and what you do is in your signature
- Send them a link to something you spoke about at the event – maybe a blog post with some useful information
- Follow them on social media. Try to follow them on the network where they are most active, if you follow them on all networks that may feel a little creepy!
That’s just the start of the relationship. Over time, like, share and comment on their social media posts and in a natural (non-creepy way) get to know each other better.
I’m the Bedford leader of Drive The Network, and at Drive we go a step further and invite people to our very active (and free) Facebook group*.
If that feels like a lot of work then a CRM can make this a whole lot easier to manage – find out more about that here.
One thing you definitely shouldn’t do is add the people you meet to your mailing list without asking first. Not only is this rude and extremely annoying, it’s against the GDPR rules.
Follow up after fairs and shows
So that’s how to follow up after a networking event, what about other ways to follow up? Many micro businesses spend time at other events such as art fairs, craft fairs and natural health/pamper events. Yesterday I was talking to one of our Drive members who attends events like this. She said that she makes far more sales by following up than she does at the events themselves. Yet many business owners see the events as just a shop to sell at on the day.
How does she do this? She asks visitors to her stall if they’d like to join her mailing list, then sends out valuable information, including some sales messages, by email. You can offer an incentive to join the list such as a free gift or a discount, but often people will say ‘yes’ much more readily if you’re there right in front of them compared with filling in a form on your website. You can write down their email addresses on paper and update your email list after the event, but a more efficient way is to use a mobile app to add them straight to your mailing address on the spot. For example, Aweber has an app called Atom that does exactly this.
The bottom line
Many small businesses are working hard to reach new people, but aren’t nurturing those people they’ve already met. By paying more attention to the follow-up they could make far more sales.
*You’re welcome to join the Drive Facebook group, too!
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