Over the past two days we have gone over some ideas on how to make the most of the actual conference or event you are looking to attend. If you missed either of those posts, you can check out the prep-work that goes into making sure you are ready to crush it by clicking here. If you are wanting some tips and tricks to keep the momentum going and have better conversations and meet more folks, click here.
Now that the prep-work and attending the event are behind us, lets focus on what to do post-event. (You can watch the video breakdown here)
This is the time when we can reminisce about the awesome connections we have made and think about the new relationships that will be budding. To use another gardening analogy, we now need to water the relationship seeds that you have planted through conversations, coffees, lunches and other types of meetings, and see which ones will flourish into great relationships. To do this, you need to gather all of the business cards and contact information from the people you met and send them follow up emails. This isn’t to say that you want to be besties with everyone, it’s just that you don’t know where these relationships can lead, and you don’t want to leave a sour taste in anyones mouth. You especially need to follow up if you said you would. This is also the time when you can take any of the interesting of fun facts you learned about them and put it in this nicely crafted follow up email.
The second step to the post-event is to make sure and follow up on what you said you were going to follow up on. If you said you would send them a resume of someone you think would be a great fit for their organization, send the resume. If you said that you would grab a coffee, set it up. Whatever task or action you said you would do, do it. You need to realize that your word and reputation are all you have. If you sully it by being forgetful, it will almost be impossible to get it back in good standing.
The next thing we need to do is follow up with the 3-5 folks that we initially reached out to. Even if you were not able to meet them, it is a good idea to get in front of them one last time, especially since you can reference something as relevant as the conference or event you all just attended together. Just as with the initial email you sent to start a connection, you are not trying to sell them anything. This isn’t about you, this is about them. If you make these follow-up emails about you, they feel a little cheated and instead of watering these seeds of relationship, you are plucking them out of the good fertile soil and throwing them in the trash.
Two final ideas. If you have the ability financially to go above and beyond, these last two creative ways could help take those relationships to the next level. The first idea only works if you were able to find out something personal about the other person, like a book they are wanting to purchase and read in the next few months, or their favorite restaurant or snack. Take that information and follow up with them by sending that favorite item, gift card, or experience in the mail. How can you serve the junk out of those relationships is the question you need to be asking yourself. This idea may be a little too far to fast, but that will be up for you to judge. The second idea is if you connected with a handful of people that are close enough to where you live, invite all of them out for a drink, dessert or dinner, your treat, and build those relationships further outside of work. I know these last ideas are taking it way beyond the initial contact, but they go a long way. I didn’t end up doing these with the event I recently went to, but I did send a small book to a coworker of one of the carriers we use because it was one that I had and that I believed they would get a lot out of.
The world is literally your oyster as it relates to this post-event time. I also know that all of these tips have been about building community. There are definitely other practical ones, but we can get into those another time. For now, here is the last thought I want to leave you with, above all, these conferences and events are about planting seeds of relationships. This is not necessarily the time to ask for the sale or even go deep. Plant the seed, water it, and see how it grows.