You did it! You met and connected with a great new contact. Now, what can you do to keep the new relationship moving forward? There is no single ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to building credibility so here are ten tips for you to consider as you embark on building an exciting new relationship:
1. Take Notes
Taking notes during a networking meeting (or as soon as you get back to the office jot down the high-points of the meeting). The purpose is to remember as much detail about them and their business or practice as you can for purposes of follow-up and ‘staying top of mind.’ This will allow you to personally reconnect with them down the road about items you’ve discussed in the past.
2. Connect with Them on LinkedIn
Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn. This suggestion might be somewhat obvious but it still needs to be said because many of us forget to do this.
3. Take an Interest
Engage with them on social media i.e. ‘Like’ and/or comment on their posts on LinkedIn. Also share their content with others (LinkedIn status updates, blog posts and newsletter articles).
4. Show Interest in Their Interests
If you meet someone you think is a really great prospective referral source or potential client, look for strategic ways to stay in front of them. Look for commonalities you have with them including favorite sports teams, hobbies, church involvement, colleges or grad schools you both attended, etc. Add this information to your CRM as a way to remember what their interests are.
5. Deliver Promised Information
Ask them during your meeting specifically how you can help them. Many times you can help them by offering up strategic introductions to people in your network. If after talking to your new contact, you feel they should absolutely meet one of your contacts, facilitate the introduction process. If you promised to send them a link to a great article, do it! Don’t be that person who offers to do all kinds of great things for your contact and never follows through. You lose credibility if you don’t deliver.
6. Personally Invite Them
Personally invite them to your events, webinars, open houses, etc. A personal invitation means so much more than being included on a “mass distribution” list.
7. Stay in Front of Them
Add them to your CRM and E-mail marketing program. Stay top of mind with your best contacts. Send them articles you think they would be interested in anytime you run across them. Also keep a ‘short list’ of important items to look for close to your desk for those contacts that are most important to you.
8. Be Where They Are
Review the organizations your best contacts are involved in and consider joining one. It may be the Financial Planning Association, or the Minnesota Precision Manufacturers Association. Either way, make a point to hang out where your best clients and referral sources do.
9. Keep Them Educated
Keep your new contacts updated on items that you think may pertain to them (articles, upcoming webinars, personalized newsletters, blog posts).
Of course, schedule time on your calendar to grab coffee or lunch with them again in a few months. Your goal should be to connect with your best contacts (prospective clients and referral sources) on a quarterly basis.
By implementing even half of the ideas above, you will be proactively moving a new contact relationship into what could blossom into a great client, referral source, or Center of Influence!