Following Up With Mixer Contacts

Contributed by David M. de Leeuw, Publisher of The Chamber Link

You get home from the After 5 Reception, put the stack of business cards of people you just met on your dresser and settle in for some, “me time,” or “family time.” The very next morning, you move the stack of cards to your desk, intending to enter them all into your contact system and then proceed to reach out to them all, right?

Unfortunately, an email caught your attention or a phone call or a to-do item. No worry – the stack will be there later in the day – when you have some free time. Days later the stack sits on your desk screaming for attention until you finally stick it in a drawer with stacks of previously collected cards.

Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. You are a busy professional and you may even be suffering a case of, “Follow-Up Reluctance.” The good news is that a simple system will fix this forever…

1. Before you go to bed: Organize your stack into categories – If you’ve been to my “Maximize Your Mixing” workshop – you’ll know to mark each card during the mixer, just before moving on to the next person to meet. I use 3 categories – borrow mine or create your own:

a. Prospects – decision makers who showed interest and who you can serve well with your product or service.
b. Influencers – showed interest for their or another organization, but aren’t the right contact for the decision.
c. Networkers – pretty much every one else.

2. The next morning: Grab the stack of Prospects and send each a ‘Nice meeting you’ email. Do it right away. Don’t stop to think about it – just get the emails out. My emails usually suggest a logical next step like, “What’s a good time for a phone call?”

3. Send a similar email to the Influencers asking for an introduction to the appropriate decision maker. That introduction becomes what I call a “warm call” for you!

4. Go to your ‘Sent’ folder and finish entering the Prospects and Influencers you just emailed, into your contact system. Flag them all for follow up in a couple of days if you don’t hear back from them.

5. Smile to yourself, because you’ve completed the most important follow-ups already!

6. Lastly, sign on to LinkedIn and try to find and connect with your new Prospects and Influencers and also the pile of Networkers. Over time, your LinkedIn contacts will be a huge networking asset, and that’s going to be the subject of another article.

If for some reason you didn’t do these steps right away – then do it the very next business day or two.

Think of the stack of business cards as a microwave-ready meal, which you just microwaved at the mixer. They are ‘hot leads’ and need to sit on the counter (overnight). Seriously – if you follow up that night, you look like you’ve got no life! The next morning your stack of leads is at the perfect temperature – so eat your meal (the steps above)! The next few days, are OK too, but after that, you’ll end up putting your cooled-down meal in the fridge (your drawer). And you know what happens to microwaved meals after they stay in the fridge too long, right?

The reason I suggest sending the emails before entering the contacts info into your system is that you’ve actually taken the first step in following up by doing so. I’m addressing, “Follow-Up Reluctance” which even the best of sales people sometimes suffer from. A typical Follow-Up Reluctance scenario would be where you diligently enter all of your leads into your system (feeling a sense of accomplishment while doing so) and then decide to follow up with these people as soon as you can. Can’t you just feel the temperature cooling down?

By starting with the emails, you’ve already accomplished the most important task – actually following up. Entering your leads into your system becomes a non-threatening administrative detail.


David de Leeuw conducts Mixing/Networking workshops for organizations large and small. If you are interested in the next mixing skills workshop or in a private workshop for your team, contact David at 925-817-7808 or

David wrote this article for the June 2015 edition of the Oakland Business Review and it is reprinted here with permission.