The Fortune is in the Follow Up

I love that Podcamp exists. When Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn birthed the unconference back in 2006, I doubt even those visionaries knew it would touch all four corners of the globe and still be going strong six years later.

This is my third time hosting a session at Podcamp. This year I’ll be heading a panel about the third largest social network, Pinterest, with friend and lawyer Stephen Zralek who knows a thing or 60 about internet, copyright and social media law. Joining us is the second most followed man on Pinterest, Daniel Bear Hunley, who, in addition to being a “southern gent” is the social media coordinator at Powell Creative in Nashville, TN.

In fact, I actually cut my “speaker” teeth at Podcamp in 2010. Since then, I’ve spoken at events and to organizations nationwide, so I owe a lot to the format for helping me gain confidence, leverage, community and clients.

One of the most important things to remember about conferences, conventions and events like Podcamp, is that the fortune is in the follow up. These are amazing opportunities to network. However, the last thing anyone really wants at a conference is to be sold to.

Jason Falls, who is actually in town Friday for social media conference Explore, always says…

“Don’t sell. Give people opportunities to buy.” 

this, but with biz cards

Now, I’m not saying that if someone comes up to you and is ready to buy your services and become your new bestie client that you shouldn’t run the credit card through your fancy Square app device and iPad. What I am saying is that you’re not there on a scavenger hunt to see who can collect the most business cards and then do nothing but make a castle out of them when you get back to your office.

Spend time with the people you exchange cards with. Find out what they do. Find out why they do it. Discover what’s coming up for them — a new launch, new partnership, an event, etc. Figure out if there is anything they are currently struggling with. Really listen. Chew on the information and take notes after you part ways so you can remember them. Then make sure you actually follow up with them. I can not tell you how many people I know who don’t do anything at all with new contacts they’ve made at events — not even an email.

I’ll say it again — the fortune is in the follow up. After Podcamp has closed the bar and turned out the lights, that’s when your work should really pick up steam. Reach out to those you met on the phone. Yes, I said on the freakin’ phone. This is your time to help. Perhaps your contact with them becomes nothing more than a new friendly relationship in the industry right now, but at some point down the line, one of you may need each other or may be able to refer someone.

I’ve gotten clients, conducted interviews for my blog, made referrals, and most importantly, enriched my business and my life by expanding my network through events like this. And you can do the same.

What other tips do you have for remembering and following up with people you meet at events? Let me know in the comments.

Tags: pcn12, podcampnashville, podcast, Social Media, unconference

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 at 8:00 am and is filed under Podcamp, social media, Start-up/Entrepreneur, technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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