Relationships and effective networking are key aspects of achieving success. And good relationships take time and care to grow. Meeting people and making connections is just the beginning!
Here are some top tips to help you nurture and grow your networks.
- Follow up straightaway
Your new contact will have met dozens of new people at that meeting. Establish a firm place in their memory by sending an email as soon as you can, saying how pleased you were to meet them and maybe suggesting a coffee catch up.
- Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the major platform for professional connecting. Personalize your invitation by reminding them of where you met or what things you have in common. Once connected, LinkedIn will also remind you to congratulate them on a promotion, new job or work anniversary.
- Be organized
Don’t just add your new contact’s business card to the pile on your desk. Develop a follow-up strategy by listing and categorizing your contacts. You will have a different group of contacts for potential sales than for logistics, or for promotion or event management.
Allocate time in your schedule to follow up with your contacts to schedule coffee meetings or simply to touch base. You should try to avoid Mondays and Fridays – midweek is the better choice.
- Create opportunities
Invite your contacts to events and launches. If you run your own business, invite them to your store. If an opportunity arises, you can recommend your contacts to each other.
Host a professional event, drinks or even dinner for clients and colleagues to connect.
- Don’t overdo it
If a contact hasn’t responded, or even rejects invitations, let it go! If you’re waiting for a reply or confirmation, allow an appropriate amount of time to pass before following up. For example, if you’ve sent an email on Friday, don’t pester them on Monday. Wait a few days and don’t follow up more than 3 or four times or you will appear as being pushy.
- Don’t be rude
As a follow-up on from not being pushy, never be rude to someone who hasn’t responded to you. Your deadline is not their problem! Similarly, don’t send passive aggressive follow-up emails saying, “I assume you’re not interested as I haven’t heard back from you’. No one can afford to burn bridges. You never know where that contact may turn up – it might be on the other side of an interview desk, or they might be on an assessment panel.