Networking Mistake: Neglecting to Follow Up

You already know that you must follow up with people you meet at business functions. This is Networking 101. But it bears repeating, because no matter how well we understand the importance of follow-up, few people actually do it.

Maybe you think you’re too busy to follow up. Or you lose new business cards (they are tiny and easy to lose) in the piles on your desk. Or maybe you suffer from blank screen/blank mind syndrome.

The fact is, it takes no more than a few minutes to compose a short e-mail to a brand-new contact. Yes, it’s possible that the other person won’t remember what you discussed. He may even have forgotten talking to you at all. But don’t let those “what ifs” prevent you from making contact. When you’re sitting in front of a blank computer screen with a stack of cold business cards, push yourself to make the effort to write a short note. That way, your e-mail address and message will be in the other person’s inbox to jolt his memory.

Set the foundation for follow up while you’re talking. Note anything unusual about the other person or the work he does, any details or specifics that you might forget. As soon as your conversation ends, jot down a few notes on the back of his business card – ideas about what to say when you follow up, the link you promised to send or the resource you want to pass along.

And then say goodbye to blank screen/blank mind syndrome.

[Ed. Note: Networking is one of the best ways to find new clients, meet potential partners, and discover people who can help your business grow.

Marketing expert Ilise Benun is the author of The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing. Get more self-marketing strategies with Ilise’s free e-newsletter, Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.]