You’ve attended a business mixer, trade show or other type of networking event. You’ve exchanged cards with numerous folks and even had a few good conversations as well. Now what?
Do you file their card on your desk somewhere — meaning to give them a call sometime? (ah, yes, the “good intentions” pile . . . )
Do you go one step further and add their info to your Outlook or other contact management system?
Do you immediately add them to your email newsletter list? (I hope not! Remember — get their permission before contacting them in any way)
Timing is everything. It can be the difference between making a real connection with someone or just becoming a faceless name in someone’s database. Which would you prefer?
I’ve seen the full spectrum of follow-up recommendations — anything from sending a note 5 minutes after leaving the event to sometime within 2 weeks. Personally, I feel that following up within 48 hours of meeting someone is “the sweet spot.”
Let’s face it. Our schedules don’t always allow us to be able to sit down and write a few notes immediately after an event — it’s just not always possible. But, if we don’t follow-up right away, we often forget, procrastinate or just plain don’t.
So, I say within 2 days.
This is soon enough after meeting that your conversation may still be fresh in your new contact’s mind and they may still have your business card as well. (in other words, it hasn’t been lost in desk clutter or thrown away because they have forgotten who you are . . . ) The key is to “refresh” the contact’s memory of you and your meeting by referring to two things:
1) Where you met — the meeting, conference, event and date
2) Something specific you talked about — the topic of interest, hobby, business issue or item for follow up you promised
If you wait any longer than 2 days, then YOU probably won’t remember these things — let alone the other person you are contacting.
I always recommend to my clients and workshop participants that if you have an event or meeting scheduled in your calendar, then also schedule 15 minutes or so within the 2 days following the event for follow up — and PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR!
Yes, schedule follow up time. If you don’t, then you will be forever trying to “fit it in” to your already packed schedule and numerous last minute items that come up. (and we all know how well that works, don’t we?)
If you want to be memorable, then remember to follow up within 2 days.