There's a pretty funny Seinfeld bit about a time when Jerry and Elaine go to pick up a rental car and they discover that there isn't a car available.
Jerry - I don't understand. Do you have my reservation?
Counter lady - Yes we do, but we've run out of cars.
Jerry - But the reservation keeps the car here. That's why you have the reservation.....So you know how to take the reservation but you don't know how to hold the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation.
The same argument can be used for following up after a networking event. The follow up really is the most important part of the networking.
We've been to many networking events and have collected business cards of literally thousands of mortgage reps, home inspectors, attorneys, accountants and title agents. But if the interaction stops once you've received the business card, you're missing out on the most important part.
You have to follow up.
How do you follow up? Just call the person whose business card is on the top of the pile and say, "Hi, I'm Wayne Zuhl. We met at the networking event last night (or last week, or whenever)."
It would be great if you had taken some sort of notes about your new contact. Maybe written a few words on the back of the card about what you had spoken of. This way you could say something like, "How's that situation with the USDA loan going?" or "How did you enjoy the concert you were going to?"
And finally, "I'm going to be in your neighborhood on Tuesday of next week. Would you meet me for coffee so we can catch up?"
Simple as that.
Because if you're not following up, you're just collecting business cards.
Also in our Networking Series: