It’s a new year and you’re not out there mingling and meeting other professionals, right? You have a pocket full of business cards from interesting people, but what do you do with them? You follow up. Following up is the first step to developing a real relationship with someone. Sounds basic, but it’s so often missed. You meet someone interesting at a networking event, you send a personal email the next day. You meet someone for coffee, again you send a thank you message.
There’s a huge amount of value in your followup – it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Not only does it reinforce your image as a sharp and professional person, but it helps build the relationship further. It also gives you an opportunity to summarize any action items from your meeting or discussion, find new ways to connect or show that you were thinking about them.
Follow up messages are also used to set the next steps in your budding relationship. It could be as simple as “let’s touch-base again in two months” to as exact as making a coffee date. Of course, as soon as you do this, you set yourself a reminder so you don’t forget, right?
Find interesting ways to follow up and you’ll end up staying top-of-mind with the people you meet. For example, if someone tells you that they just won an award, send them a card to say congrats. Taking the time to be personal is very important.