Whether you use a good old fashion spreadsheet or invest in a specifically designed CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system such as Zoho, there’s no doubt that you need a reliable tool to help you keep on top of your existing clients and potential new business contacts.

After attending a networking event, you want to make your efforts count. All of those valuable contacts you’ve made need to be organised and they need to be followed up. Then you need to keep track of your communications and hopefully turn potential clients into existing clients.

So what can you do? What steps can you take to make your follow-ups a simple process that generate the best chances of an ongoing business relationship?

If you use online tools such as Zoho, Salesforce or Pipedrive, many of these offer an automation system, that if you take a little time out to create, can save you time in the future. You’ve got the basic bulk of content in there, all you need to do is add a little touch of personality. There are also a number of other tools and applications available that can help you with your small business.

Try these following four steps…

  • Update your database and send your initial communication. Once you’ve input the details of your new contact onto your system, you want the first of your automatically generated emails to be sent. It needs to be pretty general, without sounding robotic, so make sure the content is personable. At this point it’s good to include an acknowledgement of meeting “it was a pleasure to meet you” and also what you believe the benefits of attending such an event are. To add a personal touch, you might want to add an additional paragraph to say that you’ve reviewed their website to find out more about what they do and then provide a little positive one liner to demonstrate your interest in their business. This point of contact is also a good time to suggest connecting further via social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ etc by providing your Twitter handle or your Facebook URL.
  • Day 3 follow up. How are you doing? Or more to the point, how is your contact doing? This follow up email should focus on trying to instigate further conversation, but at the same time offer a little something that captures the interest of your contact to want to know a little bit more about what you do. If you offer a ‘freebie’ then it might be worth including this, or a link to download it from your website (encouraging website traffic) making sure you include an explanation about how your freebie will benefit them personally, so that it doesn’t look like you’re just sending it out to everyone meaninglessly.
  • Day 12 further reach out. Still no response from your instigating messages? Don’t be disheartened. You know yourself as a busy business owner just how time flies and very often your inbox becomes full of emails to ‘respond to later’. Don’t take no response as a negative. View it from the perspective of someone who understands the maintenance required in making strong communications. Perseverance is key, however, you don’t want to over do it on the initial follow ups, so if at this stage it’s all a bit quiet, it’s time to step back and focus on those that have responded for a little while.
  • Attending the same event? Take this opportunity to drop your contact an email to see if they will be attending again and how it would be great to talk to them further to find out more about what they do.

These are just a few tips to help you start you your initial CRM system for contacting those you have met at networking events. Once you’ve received responses, then you will be able to keep all communications in one place, easily accessible and ready to follow up.

Remember don’t let your networking efforts go to waste. There’s opportunity everywhere.

Whilst running your own business you can forget those little things that keep it ticking over. Sign up for your 5 minute challenge by email for 21 days. Where you can take action daily – for just 5 minutes – or multiples thereof, to build disciplines and take control. 

Connect with Michelle on other platforms too: Learn how you can work with Virtual Hand; how your business can grow and how you can communicate better with your audience.