Getting out and meeting people is vital in letting the world know about your business, making networking a mandatory chore, and at that point, attending events and conferences becomes customary.
However, meeting people at an event is just the first step. You initiate a conversation, get to know a little bit about the prospect, and exchange cards. But after that, it is the actions you take after an event that build meaningful connections.
Let’s focus on what you should do after an event is over to convert your prospects into paying customers.
1. Make notes on the event: While it’s still fresh in your mind, it’s a good practice to make notes of what happened at the event.
Make a list of the potential prospects you met, topics discussed and promises made. Also, write down what you can do better at the next event, and sort out the business cards you have scanned using a card reader app (iOS, Android), or scan the heap of physical cards you have gathered.
2. Sort out the business cards: Go back to the business cards you scanned using a card scanner app. It’s also important to filter out any contacts you don’t plan to connect with from the stack of physical cards you collected. Scan through these cards to ensure you are not missing out on any important prospects. If so, add them to your contact list.
Once you know whom to get in touch with, go ahead and do some Google searches to learn more about them.
3. Google your contacts: If the prospects are a key figure in your industry, Google can help you find some significant information about them.
A Google search will also allow you to gather some jumping-off points to suit your prospect’s tastes so that you can follow up accordingly.
4. Follow up: Ideally, all the above should happen within 48 hours of the event, including a follow-up message using a media preferred by the prospect based on the above research. After two days, the prospect is unlikely to remember who you are.
The follow-up message should be short and crisp, and grammatically correct. Simply mention how nice it was to meet them, thank them for their precious time, and make a reference to your conversation reminding them who you are, thus putting your relationship off to a good start.
5. Nurture the connection: It typically takes five to six touches before someone decides that they are ready to engage with you. After a follow-up message, you may simply send a link to an article of interest to the other person or share a piece of content you created that might be of some real use to them. Continue to offer information of value and interest.
Further, you may connect on social media, especially LinkedIn, to display your skills, experience, and accomplishments. After a few touches, you can then ask for an informal meet-up.
6. Offer to meet-up: This is an opportunity to take this relationship to the next level. Once your prospect is ready to meet, do the necessary groundwork. Precisely figure out the way you will approach your prospect to make it a win-win deal for both of you.
Whatever you do, never ask for help right away. A wise approach would be to begin by offering help.
7. Offer help: Before you try to extract any benefits from your potential prospects, a better idea is to first offer some genuine help.
Your own skills and resources can be of some help to them, or you may connect your prospects with someone in your network that can prove valuable to their business. This gesture is, by and large, reciprocated, and creates a more conducive environment to ask for help. Use your discretion and ask for a favor when appropriate.
If you follow these simple tips, your conference experience may pay dividends for months to come. So, get into action and chase your post-conference goals to expand your customer database! Happy Networking!