How to Network Beyond the Initial Meeting

Many business leaders discuss the importance of networking. Its a powerful way to meet others in your industry or introduce yourself to potential clients. But what do you do after that first community meeting? If you made a true connection with someone, you want to nourish that relationship. To create a stronger connection, take small but consistent steps over time.

Keep communication open. This does not translate to adding them to your email auto responder. If theyre interested in signing up to your newsletter or business list, they can find the site from your business card. If the person was interested in your services or products, you can send a short following-up letter. If the person asked for specific information at your meeting, be sure to send details. At the bottom of your email, you can list your contact information, including website address or a link to sign up to your company email list. The email should maintain your professionalism while reminding the person of your initial contact. Be sure to thank them for their time and interest. If this contact is important to you, as a mutual entrepreneur or future client, add his name and contact information to a virtual contact document or database. This should be kept separately from any auto responders or email subscriptions. Make note of how you met the person, topics discussed, important dates, future meetings, and miscellaneous information.

Look for ways to give them value. If you see an interesting online article they might like, let them know about it. You can write a quick email or short message on a shared social network. Theyll appreciate you sharing something of interest to them, and it will keep you at the forefront of their mind. In this exchange, you don’t need to make mention of your services or products. They will appreciate that you’re not pushing a sales agenda. Continue to reach out to the person on a regular basis so you have a monthly or quarterly connection.

In addition to sending helpful digital information, you can also branch out and send small tangible gifts. Choose something appropriate and professional.  The gifts do not have to be expensive. Use sites like Groupon Coupons to help you save on gifts from many stores, such as Harry and David. Harry and David offers gourmet gift baskets filled with fruit, chocolate, wine, flowers and plants, or tasty baked goods. You can send a special gift to congratulate them on an anniversary or celebrate reaching a business goal. The website is easy to navigate, so you can search for something that perfectly fits the occasion.

Its always fun to surprise someone, especially as you congratulate them on their special day. Your connection with someone doesnt have to end at those huge community network events. Follow up with genuine interest, continue to provide value, and enjoy a deeper connection.

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