3 Strategies for Profitable Followup After an Event or Seminar

With the recent advent of social marketing, making connections digitally has never been easier.  It truly is an incredible time online.  However, nothing replaces connecting in-person, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.  Human beings require interaction that only happens face to face.  Hearing someone’s voice, seeing facial expressions, and shaking hands cannot be easily digitized.  Since these in person connections can be so strong, it is so important to follow up.  In this article you’ll discover 3 follow up strategies that include: when followup starts, a ranking system, and 3 things you must know for each meaningful followup with each new contact.

3 Strategies for Profitable Followup After an Event or Seminar

Let’s set some ground rules with the following assumptions:

  • You collected contact info.
  • You place greater value on relationship than any possible business transaction.
  • Those you met represent your target market.

1 – Start at the Event

Meaningful followup requires planning.  You can save yourself some headaches if you identify some things at the event itself.

Ask Good Questions: Questions help you understand whether the person you just met is a fit for your services, or you are for theirs.  Learn: Why are they there?  Do they work from home, or in a large company?  Do they have experience struggling with the very thing you are a pro at?  What are the top priorities for their business right now.  What are they passionate about?  What do they feel they are good at?  Who is their ideal prospect? Mix personal questions if appropriate, do they have a family, where did they grow up.

The goal is to understand if you have a connection. A friend of mine, Roger, recently said there are 3 stages to consider when networking: contact, connection, and courtship.  Making a new contact is good.  Questions help you understand if there is a connection for any potential courtship (i.e. evaluating or doing business).

2 – Give Yourself a Deadline

Followup is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared.  Most people who don’t followup within 24 hours of an event likely won’t, that’s because they start when back in the office, dealing with issues that surfaced while they were away.

I like a 24 hour deadline, it forces one to take action.  The key is, starting the process at the event itself, in the hotel, or whenever you can carve out 15 minutes before getting back to home base.  My practice is, go back to the hotel, sort through the cards and contact information received, rank them as As, Bs, and Cs.  As get top priority, then Bs, then Cs.

As much as I’d like, I don’t follow up with everyone; that’s why I use the A-B-C priority system.  A – Must followup, there was a connection and possibity of doing business in the near future.  B – Great people to remain in contact with.  While there may not be a reason to consider doing business anytime soon, there was a connection, and there could be reasons for business in the future.

Followup is often about timing, and you never know what could change in someone’s life or business.  C – Should follow up.  This is a contact where there may have been mutual interest in each other’s business, but there wasn’t that connection that you had with B’s.  Like B’s you never know what could change, and you never know who they know.

This ranking system takes the pressure off me when it comes to the task of “followup after an event” (imagine facial contortions of overwhelm).

3 – Put New Contacts in a System

This can sound daunting, but as you see the benefits of good follow up, you’ll also see the blessing of having a scalable and flexible system.  If you don’t have a system, no worries, start small.

Email: Most email systems have an address book, add your contacts there and send a personal email to the A contacts.  Add value when possible (Did they express interest in some info you mentioned during the conversation?), and be a resource.  To continue the discussion, ask them a question that will prompt them to reply.

Database: If you have a database, enter your contacts there, and use the database to process some of the follow up with them.  CAUTION: avoid sounding robotic at all costs.  Doing so can be a major turnoff, especially considering the personal interaction you had (see Ask Good Questions section above).

Whatever system you use be sure to enter these pieces of information for any new contact: name, email, where you met them (the event name and date), and a personal piece of information about them (trains dogs, vacationed in Maui recently, 12 kids… you get the idea).

The personal piece is left out by many who have a database, but it’s key for two reasons. First, it jogs your memory when you glance at it in 2 years. Second, when you speak with them on the phone the personal piece can be a great conversation starter.  “Hey Bob, Travis here. Last we spoke you were working on a Book about public speaking, how’s that going?”

2 BONUS Follow Up Tips

Phone: For your top A people, call them.  This may be appropriate depending on the circumstances of your connection at the event.
Photo Card: If you take a picture with a contact, use a service like Send Out Cards, and send them a copy of the photo as a cover to a nice to meet your or thank you card.

As you practice followup marketing from events that your target market attends, you will naturally get better at it, and be motivated by the benefits of increased sales.  There is nothing like being prepared for follow up. Start at the event by asking new contacts good questions, give yourself a followup deadline, and review the cards at the event ranking contacts for priority followup.  Start with simple email, and build a system so followup get’s easier after each new event.

When you maintain a ‘people first approach’ during and after events, you will find sales naturally increase.

How do you followup?  What followup mistakes have you made or been a victim of?  Chime in below.
Image Credits: The Vigilante Photographer Josh Sommers Express Monorail Mike O’C

3 Strategies for Profitable Followup After an Event or Seminar

With the recent advent of social marketing, making connections digitally has never been

easier.  It truly is an incredible time online.  However, nothing replaces connecting in-

person, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.  Human beings require interaction

that only happens face to face.  Hearing someone’s voice, seeing facial expressions, and

shaking hands (tough) cannot be digitized.  Since these in person connections can be so

strong, it is so important to follow up.  In this article you’ll discover 3 follow up

strategies that include: when followup starts, a ranking system, and 3 things you must know

for each meaningful followup with each new contact.

Let’s set some grounrules here with the following assumptions:
You collected contact info.
You place greater value on relationship than any possible business transaction.
Those you met represent your target market.

1 – Start at the Event
Certainly what can followup is enhanced if you take care of some things up front at the

event.  Meaningful followup requires planning.  You can save yourself some headaches if you

identify some things at the event itself.

Ask Good Questions: Questions help you understand whether the person you just met is a fit

for your services, or you are for theirs.  Why are they there?  Do they work from home, or

in a large company?  Do they have experience struggling with the very thing you are a pro

at?  What are the top priorities for their business right now.  What are they passionate

about?  What do they feel they are good at?  Who is their ideal prospect?  Mix personal

questions if appropriate, do they have a family, where did they grow up.

The goal is to understand if you have a connection.  A friend of mine, Roger, recently said

there are 3 stages to consider when networking: contact, connection, and courtship.  Making

a new contact is good.  Questions help you understand if there is a connection for any

potential courtship (i.e. evaluating or doing business).

2 – Give Yourself a Deadline
Followup is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared.  Most people who

don’t followup within 24 hours of an event likely won’t, that’s because they start when

back in the office, dealing with issues that surfaced while they were away.

I like a 24 hour deadline, it forces one to take action.  The key is, starting the process

at the event itself, in the hotel, or whenever you can carve out 15 minutes before getting

back to home base.  My practice is, go back to the hotel, sort through the cards and

contact information received, rank them as As, Bs, and Cs.  As get top priority, then Bs,

then Cs.

As much as I’d like, I don’t follow up with everyone; that’s why I use the A-B-C priority

system.  A – Must followup, there was a connection and possibity of doing business in the

near future.  B – Great people to remain in contact with.  While there may not be a reason

to consider doing business anytime soon, there was a connection, and there could be reasons

for business in the future.  Followup is often about timing, and you never know what could

change in someone’s life or business.  C – Should follow up.  This is a contact where there

may have been mutual interest in each other’s business, but there wasn’t that connection

that you had with B’s.  Like B’s you never know what could change, and you never know who

they know.

This ranking system takes the pressure off me when it comes to the task of “followup after

an event” (imagine facial contortions of overwhelm).

3 – Put New Contacts in a System
This can sound daunting, but as you see the benefits of good follow up, you’ll also see the

blessing of having a scalable and flexible system.  If you don’t have a system, no worries,

start small.

Email: Most email systems have an address book, add your contacts there and send a personal

email to the A contacts.  Add value when possible (Did they express interest in some info

you mentioned during the conversation?), and be a resource.  To continue the discussion,

ask them a question that will prompt them to reply.

Database: If you have a database, enter your contacts there, and use the database to

process some of the follow up with them.  Caution: avoid sounding robotic at all costs.

Doing so is a major turnoff, especially considering the personal interaction you had (see

Ask Good Questions section above).

Whatever system you use be sure to enter these pieces of information for any new contact.

name, email, where you met them (the event name and date), and a personal piece of

information about them (trains dogs, vacationed in Maui recently, 12 kids… you get the

idea).

The personal piece is left out by many who have a database, but it’s key for two reasons.

First, it jogs your memory when you glance at it in 2 years. Second, when you speak with

them on the phone the personal piece can be a great conversation starter.  “Hey Bob, Travis

here. Last we spoke you were working on a Book about public speaking, how’s that going?”

2 BONUS Follow Up Tips
Phone: For your top A people, call them.  This may be appropriate depending on the

circumstances of your connection at the event.
Photo Card: If you take a picture with a contact, use a service like Send Out Cards, and

send them a copy of the photo as a cover to a nice to meet your or thank you card.

As you practice followup from events that your target market attends, you will naturally

get better at it, and be motivated by the benefits of increased sales.  There is nothing

like being prepared for follow up.  Start at the event by asking new contacts good

questions, give yourself a followup deadline, and review the cards at the event ranking

contacts for priority followup.  Start with simple email, and build a system so followup

get’s easier with each new contact.  When you maintain a ‘people first approach’ during and

after events, you will find sales naturally increase.

How do you followup?  What followup mistakes have you been victim to?  Comment below.

Author: Travis Campbell

Husband. Dad. Marketing automator. Author. Educating and coaching others in their online business endeavors. Here's his Google profile.

25 thoughts on “3 Strategies for Profitable Followup After an Event or Seminar”

    1. Dian-

      Good point. If you are like me, don't analyze too long, or you may never follow up at all :-) Just focus on the top 5, the impact will get your attention, and it may build momentum so that you follow up with many more.

  1. Pingback: BizSugar.com
  2. Good tips, especially the on about setting a deadline. We picked up nearly 25 quotes to be prepared upon return from IC and did exactly that.

  3. Here's a cool idea I picked up at InfusionCon around Starting at the Event. Use your phone to record a 15 second blurb with the person and then actually email it to them while you're at the conference. That way they have your info and you have it in the sent items, and you have a video recording of the person which will help jog the memory.

    If video is not available, taking a picture with the person and then emailing it to them, or even just to yourself with their contact info will definitely help you remember who they are.

    Nothing worse than getting home to a stack of business cards and not remembering who any of them are.

    1. Brad-

      Excellent suggestion. Taking it further, and since some people might feel intimidated with such a proposition, something like,

      “as a result of us meeting here, I'd like to record some things I've learned about you real fast, and why I think we might be a good fit to work together in the future, you game for that? And maybe you can share something along those lines as well about me?”

      I actually liked this so much I 'liked' it in Disqus, my second one all time. :-)

  4. Follow up after the seminar is essential for financial success. Follow up on both people who bought products at your event and those who did not. Thank those who did and BRIBE those who did not. Ethical bribes are the perfect ones to use in these situations.

  5. Travis –

    Some great info and I very much agree! As someone who teaches networking skills I often say, follow up is where the rubber hits the road!

    Here's a link that your readers will find helpful …… How to work a room!

    http://www.effectivenetworking.com/content/effe

    Here are a few other suggestions:

    * – Schedule 15 minutes a week to do follow up. When you get your systems in place, you'll start there and add more time when you figure out what is worth your time.
    * – Before you go, evaluate the event. Many are a GREAT use of time. Others …. not so much!
    * – Create templates in your database for follow up. I have 3 (I also use A, B, C). Then it's quick and easy to stay on top of business cards.
    * – Use the 'date of birth' field in the database for the date you met them.
    * – Introduce people to others in your network. I call this 3rd party networking.
    * – If you follow up using LinkedIn (and I don't always recommend that), don't use their template invite. It looks too mass-market.

    1. These are great, pointed solutions. Thanks Diane.

      Note: At marketingprofessor.com links in comments like Diane are normally rejected due to the fact that most of these are spammers, but moreso, it leaves the impression that marketingprofessor.com is endorsing the content on the linked page.

      Diane called me before commenting here, and established a friendship first, and since her content is relevant and of good quality, I'm approving it. Cool? Cool!

  6. I recommend using Plaxo, a great way to connect and keep your contacts updated. Very easy to synch between Oultook/Entourage/Thunderbird and online database. Also, if the contact is important, consider connecting on LinkedIn. A great way to keep updated w/the contact even if you are not personally in communication.

  7. I made the mistake of sounding too robotic on my follow up after having a connection. Right now waiting on client to reply. Hope it didn’t turn him off because until then it was going really well.

    1. No one has it perfect. The fact that you are aware of this is an indication of success. You can make the proper adjustments with all future prospects/clients you work with.

      Good on you!

      -Travis

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