Showing up also means Following Up!

follow up_writingDo you know the biggest downfall of most networkers? And by the way, networkers include anyone who speaks to other people about who they are, what they do, who they do it for and what makes them unique…in the hopes of building their business or promoting their cause! Yes, this does cover a lot of people!

Okay, now that I’ve got the definition out of the way, let’s get back to my question. The biggest downfall is the lack of follow-up. Let me say ‘first rattle out of the box’ that no one (I hope) drops the follow-up ball on purpose. The thing is we’re busy. And, too often we fool ourselves into thinking the importance of showing up means just while we’re at the chamber event, service organization breakfast or weekly networking meeting. Sure, you have to be 100% present during the gathering, but don’t check out mentally once you get in your car to drive to the next thing…whether that’s to an important meeting, back to the office or home. Without timely follow-up, those new contacts you met will forget about you. They’ll move on to the next person who offers your same product or service, or the next good cause that comes their way. Those potential clients, customers and connections will respond to the folks who followed up…even if they’re not as good as you at what you do!

What happens most of the time is we have great intentions that get ambushed by life. We return to the office or home or wherever and there are fires to put out…calls to return, emails to reply to, deadlines to meet. So, we set aside those cards and notes from our networking event, promising to follow-up with folks ‘the next day’. The problem is ‘the next day’ never comes. Because every day is a fire drill and every day has meetings and phone calls and emails and deadlines. Every day we have to be in the moment of that day. How then are you supposed to do that all important follow-up? Here are a few tips:

Tip One – Schedule the follow-up. Figure out the best time for you to do your follow-up. Is it first thing in the morning? Maybe the last thing at the end of the day? Maybe right when you get back from lunch? If you know WHEN you’re to do your follow, up the chances increase that you’ll actually do it. And, you can actually put it into your calendar.

Tip Two – Know your type of follow-up. It’s been said that a hand-written note is the best form of follow-up. And, it’s true that hand-written notes have a huge and positive impact on your contacts. However, if you’re not good at writing cards, don’t let that stop you from following up. The truth is that the best form of follow-up is the one you’ll actually do!! Maybe it’s notes, but it could just as easily be an email, a phone call, a post on someone’s social media page or,  believe it or not, a text message (especially with the younger business folks).

Tip Three – Make it personal. It feels canned to just say ‘it was great to meet you at the ‘fill-in-the-blank’ event.’ Recall something you talked about with your new contact – work or personal – and mention that. Instead try, “I really enjoyed hearing about your upcoming sailing vacation.” It can still be a short note, but showing them you actually remember them will make all the difference in the world.

So, remember to be in the moment at your next networking event and stay in the moment until you get the follow-up done. Why waste your time meeting people if you’re not going to create a relationship with them?