Social networking is a valuable tool for any business, but personal introductions are still crucial. When you’re running or participating in a business and looking for customers, networking events should be part of your daily routine.
The key to becoming a lasting connection, instead of someone forgotten, is a well-crafted follow-up email. But before you send it off into the ether, make sure your note has these three elements that will help you stand out from everyone else vying for attention:
A Moment From the Conversation
People love it when you remember them, especially considering how many other people you likely interact with on a daily basis. If you can recall anything specific from your conversation, like their love for macramé or their story about starting their business, mention it in the email. Keep your comment light and professional, but if possible try to connect it back to set up another meeting. For example:
“I loved that I met a fellow scrapbooker—we should definitely try out that new store together and maybe grab a coffee after.”
There are two ways to make an impression on someone in a professional setting: By demonstrating that you remember them and being attentive to the conversation, and by showing that you’re a relatable person they can connect with.
An Idea for Their Business
Many sales books will tell you that giving gifts creates a meaningful connection with prosperous results. So, in your email, try giving a hint at how you can help their business; think of it as providing them with a personal preview. This should pique the receiver’s interest and keep the conversation going. For instance:
“I was thinking about your book; have you ever considered trying to pitch it to pet-friendly hotels? I may have some contacts related to this if you’re interested.”
If you have an idea that can help the person, but you’re unable to do it yourself, still suggest it. This will show that you care and are trying to be helpful, even if there’s no direct benefit for you.
An Action Item
In order to prevent your message from being ignored, always include a call to action. This might be setting up another meeting, or asking a question that requires a response. By including an action item, you’re more likely to seem like a profitable and positive connection who’s worth taking the time to get to know better. After all, nobody wants their business cards gathering dust on someone else’s desk!
The most crucial tip out of all these steps: keep the conversation going. At one event, we have the potential to come home with more than just pieces of paper; we could return with a handful of chances to connect with the future of our career–but only if we follow up and follow through. With this little, but potent checklist, we can ensure that every new conversation blossoms into something more.
[Related: 40 Conversation Starters That Will Make Networking (Dare We Say) Fun]
What do you think is essential for a great networking email? Let us know in the comments below!