So I Networked — Now What?


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Way to go! You did it—you faced the fear of the unknown and you went to the land of networking.

(Or maybe you haven’t! Not sure where to even find networking events? Here are my tips on how to begin your networking odyssey).

(Got some networking events lined up but not sure what to do when you get there? Read my post on how to prepare for networking events).

Now that you’ve gone there and back again, you may be asking yourself a few questions. Like, “So I have all these people’s names and business cards, now what?”

Excellent question grasshopper.

Here’s a few ideas for how you can make the most out of the contacts you made.

Categorize Your Contacts

First, split your contacts up into 3–5 categories.

You get to choose the type of categories that you would like to use, so make up categories that make sense to you and that work fit with your long term goals.

For example, you may want to just stick with A, B and C type clients—A being the best contact who matches your ideal customer profile, and C being not a good fit for right now.

Or, you could be a little more specific and make categories that range from potential customer or referral source and to cool connection. It’s completely up to you!

However, the way you divide the contacts influences how you would go about contacting them, so spend a little time coming up with a categorization process.

Move ‘Em Into The Funnel!

The connections that fall into your ideal customer type are people you want to add into your sales funnel. Once they’re in there, you need to create a system for following up consistently.

You don’t want to waste your time or their time chasing leads who aren’t the right fit for you and your business.

(And of course, you know what the right fit is because you’ve completed your target audience worksheet, right?)

Those other B and C contacts could just be added to your email list (with their expressed permission)—you keep them in your wheelhouse for the moment—but some you just have to let go (I know, sad!)

Seriously, don’t be a contact hoarder! This isn’t about collecting business cards—it’s about forming relationships that benefit both parties. We have to come to a point where we accept that not every contact is our customer.

Now the Fun Part—Making Contact!

When you reach out to people, think about what you learned about that person and their business, and then think about yourself and your brand.

The way that you reach out should keep all of these elements in mind.

Stay true to Your Brand—Your Style—Your You-ness! That’s what forms solid, long-lasting relationships. People respect it when you’re real—and if they don’t, they’re probably not a good fit.

“But wait!”, you’re thinking, “What do I actually say when I follow up?!”

Don’t worry—I’ve got your back. Here are a few of my personal favs:

Invite Them to an Upcoming Event

A few of my favorites are the Denton Chamber of Commerce mixers, Denton Rotary, and Denton County Young Professionals.

You should also look into local restaurants and pubs—they often do all sorts of food and beer or wine tastings. It’s a great way to build rapport with a potential business partner while doing something very Denton.

Check out the Discover Denton Calendar for additional ideas.

Share One of Your Latest Blogs

Written something you think might help your potential new BFF?

Share it with them! Find a blog post that they might enjoy or that is relevant to something discussed at the networking event you met them at.

Handwrite a Thank You Card

Old but gold—who doesn’t love getting a good ole’ fashioned card in the mail!

Send a card that incorporates your business brand, or maybe even a funny hallmark card.

Send an Article Related to Their Industry

Got some info that you think could really help them out? That’s what friends are for! Send it on to them and start building that relationship.

Ask for a Meeting

If you want to learn more about their business and see if you can partner, just ask to get together.

Don’t think that just because people have your contact information that they will contact you.

They’re busy—aren’t you?

Call them, reach out to them, and see if they have time, but try to fit into their schedule as much as possible. Make it easy for them to learn more about how you can work together.

It’s All About Making the Connection

There are endless ways for you to follow up with contacts you’ve made.

The most important thing, even more important than how you go about it, is just that you actually do it. Email, phone, snail mail… whatever it is, just do something!

Good luck, and get excited—it’s all about connecting!

I want to know how you guys do it—What’s your signature follow up move? How do you connect with people you’ve met, the one that has been most successful?

Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast.

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