Imagine that after a long period of isolation due to COVID-19, you attend a tradeshow and are thrilled to see old friends in person again and meet potential new friends and colleagues eye to eye. All fired up upon your return, you have new contacts noted in a mix of electronic notes, emails or physical business cards. Then you sit down at your desk and face a backlog of emails you couldn't tackle while away, as well as several matters not connected to the tradeshow needing immediate attention. Pretty soon, the day is over, and you haven't followed up.
To prevent this, no matter how busy you are, set aside time each day for follow-up actions. If you don't have customer relationship management software, consider getting this valuable tool right away. Some CRMs are designed specifically for ISOs and agents. So research available options and pick one that you determine will be the best fit. Having all your contacts in one place where you can keep track of interactions is invaluable for establishing and maintaining ongoing relationships with new and long-time contacts.
Of course, once you have this tool, it's essential to enter all the information you've gathered into your CRM. That way you won't have some people listed in your phone contacts, others on social media platforms and others on physical business cards. They'll all be in one place and in the same format.
Email is a popular form of follow up. When doing so, write a short subject line (about seven words) that makes it clear the message is a follow-up email. Including the person's name in the subject line is often highly effective in getting someone to read a message.
Then, keep it short and to the point. After reminding the person of who you are and the subjects you touched on at the tradeshow, deliver any resources you may have promised, such as PDFs or useful links, state concisely what you and your company can do for them, and include one call to action. This could be, for example, scheduling a meeting, offering a product demo or asking a question about their greatest business challenge.
When you sign off, be sure to include in your signature multiple ways the individual can reach out to you, including your phone number, street address, and social media handles, particularly LinkedIn, the platform most noted for business connections.
Whether you follow up via email, phone, text or social media, record these interactions in your CRM so you'll be able to track the results of all outreach efforts and make informed decisions about your next relationship-building steps.
Sometimes following up can feel like a pain, especially when keyboarding information into a database when you'd rather be sending the next email or text, or making your next phone call. But if you persist in daily follow up no matter how inconsequential or boring it may seem at the time, it will make the most of your networking efforts at tradeshows and lead to numerous fruitful relationships down the road.
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