Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Most Essential Part of Networking: The Follow-Up

New Technology Helps You Get Organized and Maintain Contact With Just One Click

By Charles Jones

Are you drowning in business cards? Have you ever needed to follow up with someone, but couldn’t find their information in the huge stack of cards on your desk?

How you handle follow-ups with new and established contacts will determine if you will be successful in cultivating relationships.

Schedule time to focus on business development activities. You want to create an image of being a valuable professional resource rather than a social acquaintance. One way to do this is to conduct follow-up activities during business hours.

Michelle Villalobos, a consultant with Mivista Consulting who regularly teaches personal branding, networking, and referral marketing business to professionals has a few more suggestions:
  • Within one week of meeting a new business contact, follow up with something of value to them: an article, a tips sheet, a special report, an introduction, or an invitation.
  • Create a consistent system for contact management. Whether it’s paper-based (a Rolodex or card holder) or virtual (Card Scan, Act!, Constant Contact), make sure it’s built around your preferences and style.
  • There’s a revolutionary cellular phone application that can help you clear your desk of business cards called "Card Munch." LinkedIn owns it and it’s FREE. Simply take a picture of a business card, and the application sends it to a human reader who transcribes it. The file is automatically added to your address book. You have the options of sending instant follow-up emails and automatically connecting on LinkedIn.
  • Another option is to invest in a card scanning system (like Card Scan). Before you buy, make sure that it’s compatible your contact management system.
  • If you use a binder with card sleeves, put in only one card per sleeve so that you can read the backs of the cards, including any notes you might have written.
  • Listen carefully for any opportunities that might arise for others in your network. When you refer, recommend only people that you can vouch for or make it clear that you are referring, not recommending.
  • Get some note cards printed with your name and contact information and pre-stamp them. When you return from the event, pull out all the business cards and pen a quick note, e.g. “Great to meet you, I’m looking forward to staying in touch.” Drop them in the mail right away.
  • If you send out weekly emails or newsletters, focus on providing value (i.e., offering useful tips or techniques) rather than just sending out status updates, discounts or promotions.
  • Sending emails to your list more than once a week is probably too frequent. You risk people ignoring, deleting or blocking your emails.
  • If you want to pass along something of value, distinguish yourself by adding a note at the top, giving your perspective or encouraging people to send back their comments.
  • Above all, be authentic. You want help, not constantly sell.

Finally, the above techniques are merely guidelines to help you position yourself as a trusted referral source and to strengthen your relationships through effective follow-ups.

For more information about Michelle Villalobos visit

Is there a public relations or legal marketing issue you would like Attorney at Law to address? Email Charles Jones with CJones & Associates Public Relations at
Location: 2020 N 48th Ave, Hollywood, FL 33021, USA


Post a Comment