You took part in networking event and you swiftly closed the conversation with magic phrase “I look forward to following up.” But what it actually means, and why it’s so important today?
You don’t have to read “The McKinsey Way“, “The McKinsey Mind” or “The McKinsey Engagement” to find out that simple, traditional “thank you notes” sent by McKinsey consultants to their engagements sponsors after delivering the service were the key to generate next engagements, even many years later. It appears that small acts of kindness are not forgotten and the follow up is the secret weapon of networking.
– You took some preparations and set a goal to reach to 5 most important person for you before you went to networking event,
– You came first and went out last, or at least gave a try,
– You were reading peoples IDs pinned to their suites (that’s they are for!) to localize, who you were looking for, and you was doing everywhere – standing in line for food, in corridors, in exhibition sites,
– You knew what are “opening gambits” and “middle game questions” and you focused on telling how you find solutions to challenges people face,
– You obviously took notes on the back side of the business cards you exchanged,
– You was using “end game techniques” you was finishing up the conversations you had in 3 minutes.
But hey, doing thanking for time people give us is so natural, that it should not be the propose of following-up. So how to make it more successful in terms value creation for the business you develop or nurture? Consider e.g.:
– Attaching link or scan of article, which may be interesting the person you write to,
– Attach link or write something you’ve heard a about the people or companies your person is aspiring to. Writing something about competitors is also not a bad idea,
– Attach something funny, like comic story or mem related to the business the person you met operates in,
– Attach your company’s newsletter – yes a newsletter. If you think your company is small and you haven’t been doing newsletter because of that, be convinced by the argument that there are 2- pager newsletters sent with persistence by start-ups and SMEs, which turn out to be successful. Short information about current project you are engaged in, something about success of the client you supported recently, and interview with one of your employees or partners will do it. Besides, if you want to start doing it in a big scale someday, you have to master newsletters and mass communication. If you’ll your first newsletter in personalized way and attach it to follow-up note with ask for consent for receiving the next ones – you are in,
– Write something about new product to appear on the market, which may be interesting to your contact,
– Inform about an event, seminar, lecture, training – anything which may be interesting to your contact and would be natural occasion to meet again and deepen the conversation you started,
– Don’t attach everything and at once. Spare something for next, value adding follow-ups.