This happened to me recently at a large scale networking event I attended. I met with several contacts, had a really great conversation about our businesses and we exchanged business cards. I even jotted down a few notes about the conversation on the back of the card. However, when I got home and went to follow up with them, I had nothing more to say than "Wow. It was great to meet you". Which is not the best way to make a lasting impression that could lead into a long term business relationship or future client. But the truth was - I didn't know what to say next. What do you do when you don't have an immediate action to take?
So I thought of three quick and easy things to do. And the more I thought about it, I realized this would really simplify my life tremendously. I have stacks of business cards from prior events. And with many of the cards I haven't done anything after meeting the person because I didn't know what to say except a cheesy reminder from our conversation or send a holiday card.
So here are my three next steps:
1. Invite them to your LinkedIn network
This is a no brainer. One of your goals in LinkedIn should be to increase the size of your network. And while many of us don't log in except to update a new job/title or reach out to a contact when looking for a new gig or client, it is a great tool to use on a regular basis. (Yes, this is also a great time to go back and ensure your profile is 100% complete)
So send them a link with your custom LinkedIn header and/or try searching their name to see if you can invite them directly.
2. Connect with them via your favorite social network
Twitter is one of my favorite for business purposes. While it does have a lot of irrelevant chatter, it is a great tool for getting links for research purposes as well as being able to directly access people.
But I'm not biased that one should use one social network at the loss of another. So go ahead and invite them to the network you use most. I've simplified this process on my end and added my name to my email signature. But I will often go the next step and ask them to friend me/like me/etc.
3. Send the cheesy email
Let's face it. The tried and true methods of business work. And meeting someone at an event, shaking hands and then communicating with them afterwards - it can still lead to business.
The problem is that many of us have forgotten the basics. We don't have time. We don't have the cash. We think it's old school. The list is long why many of us don't send the email.
But think about it - when you've gotten one from someone you met at an event, it was probably only one of a few and you were more inclined to remember that person in the future. Or better yet, if they picked up the phone and left a message, you definitely remembered them. Use this technique to your advantage. Make sure to reach out and say hi, remember meeting me?!