So, you do a one-on-one with somebody from your networking group and he/she gives you a lead. Now what?
That depends largely on the information provided. As a practice, you want to try and get a phone number and an e-mail address. In fact, e-mail is often an easier ice-breaker to introduce yourself and the connection to person providing the lead.
Once you have the lead’s contact info, the follow-up process should start before you end your one-on-one meeting:
- Confirm next steps – Will the person who gave you the lead reach out to that person? If so, by when. Offer to make the initial introduction to the lead via e-mail. Mention you met with John/Jane Doe from your networking group and they suggested we should connect. Be sure to cc John/Jane on the e-mail.
- Let it breathe – Don’t expect an immediate response, particularly if the lead hasn’t heard from Jane/John about you. Give it two business days before taking the next step.
- Call the lead – Again, reference John/Jane and how they thought it would be beneficial for the two of you to connect. Be sure to reference the e-mail you sent and that you are just following up. Hopefully, the discussion takes its course and you can set up a meeting.
- Follow up with your networking member – Let Jane/John know if you connected with their lead. If more than a week goes by and you haven’t been able to connect, let them know that as well.
When somebody gives you a lead, there’s a responsibility of follow-up that falls on both of you. Otherwise, it’s a cold lead, which is just one notch above a cold call–and that goes against the grain of why we join networking groups.
Know that when you give or get a lead, it’s going to require effort on both parties to make it a warm referral and be prepared to do the follow-up to make that happen.