The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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At this point in the process, you will be finishing up your experience and getting ready to head home. Before we dive into the follow up for part 3 of this mini series, let’s take a second to recap.
In part 1, we discussed 3 influential ways to prepare for a conference: have a plan, research, and outreach. We talked about how this sets the stage for your arrival, so you can build meaningful relationships and achieve your personal goals at the conference.
In part 2, we focused on the in person experience at the conference and how to leverage your preparation to really connect with the right people and maximize your time.
Now, we are going to break down the follow up and how you can do this is an effective, respectful way that further develops the relationship. Following up with people is an art and can be very time consuming if you want to do it the right way.
The right way is not to copy and paste every email immediately into your email provider, but rather to craft custom messages that are individualized to the person you are reaching out to. At first, your follow up should be to people who you built a unique connection with and if you took notes like I suggested in part 2, you will be able to bring that up in your follow up making it even more personal.
I believe the follow up is what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the people who truly want to grow their network from those that don’t.
It is Kelf Key #21 in Elevate Your Network, and something I am very passionate about. I 100% believe in the power of following up and investing time and effort into growing a relationship.
Did you know that according to Entrepreneur almost 80% of sales are made after the fifth call? Did you also know that 92% of salespeople give up before the fifth call? I don’t want to make this into a sales conversation, but I do want to mention how powerful persistent follow ups can be. Plus, whether you are selling a product or your services or neither, you are always selling yourself and to build a relationship it takes consistency.
For the sake of keeping this article less than a 5 minute read, I’m going to focus on two types of people to follow up with after the conference and how to do it:
PEOPLE YOU MET
The first group is the most obvious. These are the people you started to build a relationship with. You probably learned a bit about them and got their contact info. These people are the easiest to follow up with and get a response from because when they see your name pop up in their inbox, they’ll smile.
When you send your follow ups to these people, it’s important to focus on your appreciation for them, a few fun facts or details you remembered to bring you together, and your interest in letting them know you want to stay in touch.
If there was something specific you discussed with this person, then definitely bring that up to continue the conversation. Every single email should be personalized with details from your time together at the conference.
By doing this, you stay front of mind and you let them know the door is open for future communication which will prime you for continuing to build out the relationship over time.
With these types of people, you are taking the next step in developing the relationship. Following up shows your interested in continuing to communicate with the other person.
PEOPLE YOU WANT TO KNOW BUT DIDN’T MEET
At every conference, there are going to be people you wanted to meet but didn’t get the chance to. Successful connectors are not necessarily the people who meet the most people in a short period of time, but rather people who develop meaningful relationships with the people they do meet.
Since we can’t plan exactly how the conference is going to go, nor do we want to, there are often people we were hoping to meet but didn’t get the chance to. These can be people you heard great things about, people who were involved with organizing the event, people who were presenters or performers, or even people you had researched in your preparation but never crossed paths with.
Going to a conference gives you an automatic in with these types of people at the conference. It doesn’t mean you are best friends and can send the same email as you can with people you now know, but it turns any future outreach from cold to warm because of your common ground of attending the same conference.
A huge part of connecting with people from a conference or in general is finding common ground. Using the conference as common ground is a great way to increase your open rates and increase your chance of building a new relationship.
When you reach out to people you wanted to meet, make sure to let them know you wanted to meet them and let them know why – people spoke highly about them, they crushed it on stage, you learned from them in a workshop, or you are grateful for their effort in hosting.
People have a natural tendency to feel good when someone compliments them or hears how they’ve made a difference, so if you can start your intro with common ground and a way to compliment them or make them feel good, you are right on track to start building this relationship.
The other big thing that is important to do when following up with people you wanted to meet, is to share a little about yourself and ask to set up a time to get to know each other.
If you want to begin the relationship, you need to send an email that warrants a reply.
Regardless of which grouping someone falls into, it is your up to you to monitor your responses and what happens next. I recommend waiting at least a week before your next follow up in the event that you haven’t heard from them yet.
In that follow up, you don’t need to do anything fancy other than ask if they received your previous message about XYZ.
As we come to the close of this 3 part series, relationships take time and effort to build. They aren’t created over night and they grow as you invest more. Relationships are about providing value and being there for others.
Part 1: 3 Influential Ways to Prepare for Connecting at a Conference
Part 2: How to Execute and Create Lasting Relationships at a Conference
Part 3: How to Authentically Follow Up After a Conference
If you liked this series, what was your favorite part? For more info on the art of building meaningful relationships, feel free to contact me or invest in a copy of Elevate Your Network.