Networking 101: Five Easy Ways to Follow Up

Networking can be one of the most effective ways for entrepreneurs to find customers, business partners, investors and mentors. Whether it’s an in-person event or an online forum, here’s what often happens: people make useful contacts and don’t follow up, missing out on a chance to form new relationships that may become valuable.

Sometimes the lack of follow up relates to a life-long habit of procrastination – a serious concern if your goal is to start a business. But in many cases, a few time management or organizational techniques can go a long way to increase the return on networking efforts.

For easy follow up that gets results, consider these tips:

1) Follow up as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the harder it gets – and the less likely you are to take action.

2) Be concise.  A follow-up email or voice mail message that gets to the point won’t take as long – and is more likely to generate a response. Suggest a phone conversation for action items that require more time.

3) Have a reliable system to capture contact info. It can be an iPhone app or hand-written notes on the back of a business card. Use a method that works for you.

4) Start small. Again, the follow up won’t take as long – plus it will be easier to deliver on any help you’ve promised. That’s important if you want to earn the trust of your new contact.

5) Designate a place for business cards. This favorite tip from space organizers also works well for post-networking. Put cards in the same spot after each event so you can locate them – and don’t waste time looking for the information you need to follow up.

“A strong beginning is a good thing only when coupled with a strong finish,” observed Mary Kay Ash, who started her Mary Kay cosmetics company at age 40. Why not apply this principle to your networking?

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About Lynne Strang

I'm a writer who blogs about 40-and-older business owners. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." Outside of work, I enjoy reading, cooking, vegetable gardening and exercise (especially cycling).
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, Careers, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement, Success and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Networking 101: Five Easy Ways to Follow Up

  1. Patt Timlin says:

    Great reminders! I’ve noticed that people get so concerned with marketing online that they forget simple off-line ideas like meeting with a ‘real’ person, following up or a simple thank you!

  2. BENNY LAYOSA says:

    The tips mentioned here are really effective.

  3. Kally says:

    Great tips! I shall try them soon.

  4. Naren Srem says:

    That is great. It’s useful to manage my clients too. I will apply them soon too. Thanks

  5. techgistng says:

    Nice tip. I tend to ignore people when they finally try to contact me. I have realised that I am meant to follow up. Thanks.

  6. Being a business major currently attending school, if I’ve learned one thing its that networking is vital. Job opportunities come from meeting people and in turn meeting people through those people and so on. You captured the concept beautifully in this post!

    • Lynne Strang says:

      Thanks. I read your post about networking at the gym. It can be a great place to make new contacts because: 1) you already have at least one interest in common (fitness) and 2) people who exercise regularly tend to be successful in other areas.

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