How to Follow up With Your New Contacts After a Conference
Conferences, trade shows, expos, and other corporate events are havens for meeting and making new contacts. If done right, they can help you build an extensive network of partners, clients, and collaborators. In other words, conferences offer a sizzling opportunity to extend both your professional and business network. But, that is only possible if you follow up with your new contacts effectively.
You see, most conference attendees tend to let communication with new contacts slide soon after the post-event excitement wanes. That brings us to the subject of this article: how to proactively and proficiently follow up with your new contacts after a successful networking event.
1. Prioritize Your Stack of Business Cards
While it might sound easy in theory, taking on a stack of business cards you gathered at a conference can be quite overwhelming in reality. Happy hours, toasts, seminars, late nights, endless chats, quiet meals, and sifting through awkward convos, the whole conference experience can be too much for some people, and it’s easy to let everything slide soon after you leave. That’s a big no-no; you need to go through each business card and gauge how good the contact is to your bottom -line.
To make the entire process manageable, you need to organize the stack of business cards into 3 categories: low, medium, and high priority. Segmenting your contacts makes tackling the communication easy.
2. Write Notes about Each Contact
How to effectively categorize and remember your new contacts? You need to make small notes about every contact while the conference buzz is still fresh in your mind. It shouldn’t be all dandy and sophisticated — just note down what you can remember about the conversation you’d with each contact, and jot down any future opportunities for partnership or collaboration.
While they might seem trivial, these notes will make it easy for you to remember every contact, and follow up later. It doesn’t have to be physical notes; you can append the notes to a contact file on your tablet or smartphone.
3. Schedule Emails Carefully
For the best post-conference follow-up experience, you need to be conscious of how you schedule your email follow-ups. There is really no point to bombarding your new contacts with a slew of emails immediately after the conference. If you do so, the chances are that your emails will get a low-value response, if any at all. You want to give the contacts a chance to get over the conference exhaustion, jet-lag, and get back to their normal routine before blasting them with follow-up calls, emails or social media posts. The rule of thumb is to give them a three-day leeway.
4. Avoid Cliche Messages
Most conference attendees have gotten used to boilerplate emails, phone calls, and whatnot. To stand out from the rest, you need to avoid cliche messages. While they might save you some time, they tend to be forgettable and impersonal. Asking questions, sending out invitations, and referring to a particular article or product you talked about can do the trick.
5. Get Social
To initiate immediate interaction, you need to follow up with your new contacts using social media platforms. When befriending them, send out a note to jiggle their conference memory. Of course, this calls for the use of official company page.