Image by Brian Merrill from Pixabay
Speaking from personal experience, re-entry to the daily grind after a business conference is difficult. After all, you’ve had at least a day of networking and catered meals. Also, if you’ve attended a multi-day conference, there was no doubt lots of socializing. Plus, there was zero housework and potentially some sightseeing.
When it’s time to go back to the real world, there’s a sort of exhaustion associated with it. You’ve got to unpack, work on processing what you learned, and create a plan to implement the key takeaways.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to maintain relationships with the people you connected with at the event.
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All too often, it’s easy to say you’ll follow up, and months later, you’ve lost contact. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a connection with those people you met.
Skip the Manual Data Entry
When it comes time to organize the contacts you made, that stack of business cards can overwhelm you.
Instead of relying on manually entering all the information, use your phone to upload business cards to Salesforce. You’ll be able to complete the process in a fraction of the time it would take you to type it all in yourself.
The magic of optical character recognition means that smart apps can turn image files into text entries. What’s more, there are apps that can do this at scale, syncing with your Salesforce account.
Make Notes Directly into Your CRM
This allows you to integrate everything with your CRM right away. Therefore, you can move forward to the other steps necessary to maintain contact much faster. Also, instead of making notes on the back of each business card to help you with your follow up email, you can make the notes directly in your CRM.
Connect on Social Media After a Conference
Chances are there was a great deal of social media chatter before, during, and after the event. Moreover, social media is great for continuing to network with your new contacts. Send connect requests via social media to those you want to continue the conversation with on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other platforms where you are most active. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use Facebook or Twitter Lists.
Reach out on Facebook
To create a Facebook List, from the Facebook homepage, scroll down the left sidebar to the Friends section. Mouse over the word Friends, then click the More button. You’ll see the lists you currently have. There is a work option by default, but instead of using that, we’ll create one specific to this event. Click the “Create List” button. You’ll be able to name your new list and add new members and also add the people you’re already friends with. Click the “Create” button.
Send requests to the people you want to connect with as usual, and then once they accept, add them to that list. When you accept a new friend request on Facebook, you can visit their profile. To add them to your conference (or any) list, click the “Friends” button. From the options, you can choose the list you want to add the friend to. Alternatively, you can create a new list to add them to. No one will be able to see your lists. Nor will they be notified when they are added to or removed from the list. Facebook will create a newsfeed that shows the updates of people specifically on that list.
Use Lists in Twitter
To create a Twitter List, visit your profile page and select “Lists,” then “Create List.” Name the list and provide a description. Choose whether the list is public or private. In this case, it’s probably better to keep it private, unless you want to make it useful for other conference attendees. Save the list.
Now, visit the profile of someone you want to add to the list. Use the person icon on the profile and choose the “Add or Remove from Lists” option. Choose the list you want to add the person to, or uncheck the list the person was already on to remove them. Viewing the list timeline allows you to see a stream of tweets only from the accounts on that list.
Nail the Follow-up Email
You should not send follow-up emails the day after the conference is over. Chances are people are frazzled. Remember, they’re getting back into their regular routines, too, just like you are.
Everyone in attendance is already overwhelmed with an inbox full of unanswered email that piled up while they were at the event. Therefore, there’s a greater chance your email will be overlooked or ignored.
After a Couple of Days Start Reaching Out
However, after a couple of days, it’s time to sit down and work on your emails. You can use a template to make things easier. However, it is absolutely critical that you personalize every email. People can smell a generic email a mile away—and they will be turned off.
Here’s an example template:
Hi (First Name),
Glad we got to meet at (Conference/Event). It was great connecting with you at the event. I checked out your website afterward and loved (something specific to them). Have you tried using (recommendation)? I use that framework with my team and it has been incredibly successful.
Happy to chat more about it or send over some templates and examples if you’re interested.
Again, it was great meeting you at (Conference/Event), and I hope to see you again soon. If there’s anything else I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Or, try this one:
Hi (First Name),
It was great meeting at (Conference/Event). I remember you mentioning (something specific the two of you discussed), and I thought I would share (a recommendation of some sort such as a book, software, etc.) that helped me (achieve something the person is trying to do).
It’s called (name of book/software). I just sent you (the Kindle version/a free trial). Hope you like it! Happy to discuss the (recommendation) or my own approach if you’d like.
Just let me know!
Connect with Those to Whom You Can Offer Mutual Value
If you try to connect with every single person you came in contact with, it can be hard to nurture all the relationships. This is especially true if you attended a conference with thousands of attendees.
Therefore, instead of trying to keep in touch with everyone, choose to focus on the people you spoke with at length, or anyone you believe can offer mutual value.
For example, perhaps your business needs help with its web development, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media. In that case, make sure to follow up with any web developers, Internet marketing experts, and social media managers you may have met. Those are the people you need the most. What’s more, surely there’s a way you can offer your products or services in return.
If they are interested in what you have to offer, they may be following up with you, too.
Keep in Touch
Using these tips, it’s much easier to keep in touch with people after a conference. However, you’ll still need to make the effort to keep the conversation going.
If people don’t express interest in your offers right away, that’s okay. You can still connect with them on social media and maintain a friendship. That’s because you never know when the connections will pay off. So just be helpful when you can—and don’t worry about making the sale.