How to Master the Art of the Follow-Up

How to Master the Art of the Follow-Up

Give First and Expect Nothing in Return
During your initial meeting, did your new contact mention a need overtly or in passing? Perhaps they mentioned that their sibling is a job seeker? If so, maybe you can follow up and inquire about what he/she wants to do and ask for a resume to pass to a few possible connectors or companies who are hiring.

This is one example of many possible scenarios, but what’s important is to seek out opportunities in which you can help someone with a need they have. Take the lead and expect nothing in return (most people are wired with a reciprocity mentality); continue to do this and you’ll grow a positive reputation as someone who pays it forward. People will be attracted to you and will want to help you in return.

Set Up a One-on-One Meeting
Be clear about your intentions for any meeting beforehand so the other party can prepare accordingly. Ideally, make it somewhere that is convenient for the other person, or worst case, midway between you both, easily accessible, has plenty of parking, and will have a quiet (enough) space for you to talk. The first one-on-one meeting is about further developing your rapport with your new contact. Rather than forcing your agenda on them by leading with things about you and your business, let them ask.

Use the Power of One Connection to Open Many Doors
Any contact with whom you interact knows hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. This makes the power of your conversation exponential. Remember: when you’re talking to someone, you’re actually speaking to their entire network. The same goes for them with you.

So once you’ve developed real trust with someone, you’ll want to be more intentional about how you help them. If someone is looking for a job, a business lead, or some other tangible introduction, open up your list of contacts to them. There is even a handy export tool on LinkedIn’s free version whereby you can download all of your contacts and share their name, company, and position with your new connection so they can identify people themselves.

However you do it, sharing your list allows you to reach back out to others in your network to offer a potentially valuable introduction. Once you’ve warmed up the third party on the connection, close the circle and make the warm introduction.

Use Tools Beyond LinkedIn
One of my favorite tools is Newsle. It connects to your contacts and sends you email digests to let you know when someone in your network has appeared in the news. Another favorite is HARO (Help a Reporter Out). You’ll get three emails per day with opportunities from press outlets to be quoted or featured in their stories. It’s great to use yourself, but also to share with your contacts who are a good fit. Lastly, check out This is an inexpensive platform that scores how well you’re keeping up with your contacts.

There you have it: eight simple steps to master the art of networking follow-up. It’s always best to work on one new habit and get it down before going to the next, so consider breaking up these tips and adding one to your calendar every couple weeks. That way, you can slowly and naturally integrate them into your follow-up routine.

Here’s to you building a stronger network.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.