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Sujan Patel sales 0

The Perfect Networking Follow-Up Email Strategy (With Templates)

You’ve met someone interesting at an event. You’re excited about the possibility of working together, but with everything else that’s going on at the event, you forget to follow up. A week later, you finally fish their business card out of your briefcase.

Is it too late to follow up?

Rather than letting great networking leads fall through the cracks, put a networking follow-up strategy in place to ensure you get the maximum value out of every new contact. Here’s how to get started.

Ivan Misner’s 24/7/30 System

Whenever you’re trying to start a new habit – in this case, getting better at networking follow-up – putting a system in place can help reduce the chances you’ll forget to execute important steps. And in the case of networking, Ivan Misner’s 24/7/30 system is a great place to start.

Described in his book, Avoiding the Disconnect, Misner’s system involves three steps:

  • Send your new networking contacts a note within 24 hours. According to Misner, a handwritten note is best, but sending an email is better than not being consistent or missing the 24-hour window.
  • Connect with them on social media within seven days. Don’t try to sell them yet. Just try to engage them in conversation, based on where and how you met.
  • Try to set up a face-to-face meeting within 30 days (either in person or using a videoconferencing tool). Again, in person is better, if you can do so. Use this meeting not to try to sell your new contacts, but rather, to see if you can help them with anything.

Putting the 24/7/30 System Into Practice

Misner’s system is pretty straightforward. But to help you put it into practice, I’ve put together different templates you can use at each stage of the 24/7/30 process.

The Note You’ll Send Within 24 Hours

You’ll need to customize this template based on where you met your new contact, as well as the interaction you had with them. If you can, work gratitude into this message for something the recipient helped you with or shared with you – everyone loves to hear that their actions had an impact on somebody else.

Ultimately, keep it simple. If you have nothing else to add, Misner suggests, “Let them know that it was a pleasure meeting them and you hope your paths cross again.”

Subject: Great to meet you

Hello {{name}],

Great meeting you at {{event or location}}. I really appreciate you sharing {{a piece of advice, a resource, etc}}.

Hoping we can connect again in the future.

Take care,
{{signature}}

The Social Media Outreach Post

According to Misner, “Make a connection via LinkedIn or Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Find ways to connect and engage with them via social media platforms that you and they use the most.”

If you see that your new contact uses Twitter the most, you may not need a template – following them and engaging periodically with their tweets may be enough. If you’ll be connecting via LinkedIn, Facebook or any other platform that requires them to accept your connection request, the following template may be helpful.

Hi {{name}},

Just realized we’re both active here. Would love to connect so we can keep in touch.

Hope you’re well.

Thanks,
{{signature}}

The Invitation to a Face-to-Face Meeting

Use social media or any other channels you identify to deepen your relationship with your new contact and to remain top-of-mind. Then, within 30 days of meeting them, reach out to set up a meeting.

Subject: Maybe I can help?

Hello [name],

If you have a few minutes free, I’d love to set up a time to connect to learn more about your business. I’m not sure if opportunities exist for us to work together, but I’d love to see if there’s anything I can do to help.

Can we put a 30-minute meeting on the calendar for sometime in the next few days?

Thanks much,
{{signature}}

However you customize this template, keep in mind that your goal is to help, not to sell. As Misner states, “At this meeting, find out more about what they do and look for ways to help them in some way. Don’t make it a sales call. Make it a relationship building opportunity.”

Confirmation of the Face-to-Face Meeting

Once you’ve worked out the details of your upcoming meeting, confirm the time and connection details to minimize confusion. If you aren’t using a calendar booking tool like Calendly or Pick.co that sends meeting details automatically, use a template like the following to simplify your process.

You may not need the subject line or greeting if you’re replying to a previous message.

Subject: Meeting details for your reference

Hello {{name}},

Looking forward to our meeting! Just to confirm, I have it on my calendar for {{date}} at {{time}}. I’ll plan to {{call/meet}} you {{on/at}} {{conferencing tool/location}}.

Appreciate your time,
{{Signature}}

A Reminder for the Face-to-Face Meeting

Finally, reduce the chances of your new contact no-showing on you by sending a reminder in advance of the meeting. Personalized email tools like Mailshake can automate this process, based on the interval you specify (for example, eight hours before your scheduled meeting).

Subject: Looking forward to our meeting

Hello {{name}},

Looking forward to connecting on {{date}} at {{time}} at {{location/conferencing link}}. If anything has changed on your calendar, just let me know so that we can reschedule.

Chat soon,
{{signature}}

Troubleshooting the 24/7/30 System

The templates above may help you implement Misner’s 24/7/30 system. They may not. You may run into other challenges if the model doesn’t exactly fit your needs or your networking style.

But any good system comes with troubleshooting steps. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most benefit out of this framework:

If you’re forgetting send the message within the first 24 hours, you could:

  • Carry notecards in your briefcase with stamped envelopes so you can write them as soon as you have a free minute. This can be helpful if you’re at a multi-day conference, and you won’t be back in your office within that 24-hour window to get your notes out.
  • Build an internal form for your use that’ll trigger a follow-up message to be sent automatically. Once this is in place, you should be able to simply complete fields like “name,” “event” and “advice” or “resource” and have the message be sent immediately on your behalf.

If you’re having trouble finding your new contacts on social media (or if you’re spending too much time doing this manually), Voila Norbert’s enrichment tool  can help you identify profiles easily. This can be even more useful if you’re attending large networking events where you’re making dozens or hundreds of new connections.

If you’re struggling to get people to agree to face-to-face meetings with you (or to show up at the time you agreed upon):

  • Look at how you’re asking. Maybe the value proposition of what you’re offering isn’t that appealing to them. Test different templates until you’ve found the right language that connects with them.
  • Reach out using multiple forms of contact – and make sure they have several ways to get in touch with you. Sometimes, no-shows aren’t malicious. It could be that they’re stuck waiting for Skype to update or watching their constantly-spinning cursor fail to load another conferencing program.

Pay attention to your follow-up strategy’s performance at level to identify other potential troubleshooting opportunities. If you notice, for example, that you always manage to get messages out within the first 24 hours of meeting someone new, but then forget to follow up on social within the next week, take whatever steps you need to in order to change your performance at this stage.

Building Your Own Networking Follow-Up Strategy

Ultimately, according to Misner, “Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.” It doesn’t matter how many leads you stalk down and capture if you don’t ever nurture them into real, mutually-beneficial relationships.

Take the time to build your own networking follow-up strategy, whether you follow Misner’s as law, adapt it to suit your own needs or build something entirely different. Get in the habit of nurturing leads the same way farmers nurture their plants. The relationships that bloom will be well worth the effort.

Would you use the 24/7/30 system? Or do you have another strategy you prefer? Leave me a note below sharing how you’re following up after networking: