Although most people understand the important role networking and socializing can play in a career or a business, very few people put in place a methodic system for following up with the people they meet during an evening of networking and socializing. In fact, many just drop the ball entirely and never follow up at all.
Michael Port, a bestselling author and business coach, says having a strategy for keeping in touch with contacts you meet “may be the most important marketing strategy you’ll ever use.” In Book Yourself Solid, Port suggests taking the time to create a system for keeping in touch. “If you don’t have a systematized and automated Keep in Touch Strategy in place, you may, as the old saying goes, leave a lot of business on the table.”
Those who hate networking the most are usually the worst at following up. If you get sweaty palms just thinking about entering a room full of people you don’t know, I’ll bet you are the type who neglects the follow through entirely. That’s actually the worst thing you can do. Not following up just means you’ll have to haul yourself back out on the cocktail circuit again and again and again.
The solution is also not more networking. Spending more time networking without a follow-up system in place is like bailing water from a leaking ship — it will keep you afloat in the short term, but eventually your ship will sink. A better choice is to implement a better system.
Your business or career may even depend on it. Port argues that many businesses have failed simply because they didn’t have a strategy for checking in and keeping in touch with contacts and clients.