I often see people make the mistake of meeting many individuals at networking events and then not having a system in place to follow up with the new contacts afterwards. Here’s a simple follow-up formula I recommend; it’s called the “24/7/30 System.”
When you meet someone at a networking event, drop them a note within the first 24 hours. It can be a personal handwritten note or an e-mail. Use whatever approach you will do consistently. Let them know that it was a pleasure meeting them and you hope your paths cross again.
Within 7 days, connect with them on social media. Make a connection via LinkedIn or Facebook. Follow them on Twitter or join them on Google+. Find ways to connect and engage with them via the social media platforms you use the most. Do not do this as a way to sell to them; do it as a way to start establishing a meaningful connection with them.
Within 30 days, reach out to them to set up a face-to-face meeting. If you live near each other, meet in person. If you are far away from one another, set up a meeting via Skype or by phone. At this meeting, find out more about what they do, and look for ways to help them in some way. Don’t make it a sales call; make it a relationship-building opportunity.
If you use the 24/7/30 System to follow up with people you meet, you will establish a powerful routine that will help you to make your networking efforts meaningful and successful. Use technology to help remind you to follow up at the appropriate intervals. After you send the first note or e-mail, set up reminders on your phone or calendar to follow up at one week and one month out. As the late, great motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn, used to say, “The fortune is in the follow-up.”
By Ivan Misner, Ph.D.
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. His new book, Avoiding the Networking Disconnect can be viewed at Amazon.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company.