Informational meetings, coffee meetings, job interviews, they all have one thing in common: We should always send a follow up email.
In the case of an informational meeting, following up requires a different approach than following up on a job application because we aren't necessarily asking for a job.
So far, we've everything right: we did our research and came up with the right questions to ask, grabbed coffee, and the coffee meeting went well.
Now we want to show the person how much we learned from the conversation and how appreciative we are of their time. So we write a follow up email.
But … what are we supposed to write?
I was in that position once. My follow up emails used to look like this:
It was great meeting you. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today! I learned a lot from you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you.
That email says “thanks,” and says I learned a lot but it’s vague and doesn’t create an opportunity to develop the relationship.
When writing a follow up email, the more specific you are, the better. Be specific about what you learned from the conversation and what action steps you’ll take. This shows that you actually listened and you didn’t waste the other person’s time.
Most importantly, remember to provide value with your email. So now the question is ...
How do we write a follow up email that cements the connection and moves it forward?
Since then, I’ve learned how to write better follow up emails. These emails pull information from the conversation and provide a path to move the relationship forward.
Here’s an example of an email template you can use:
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat today. I enjoyed talking and learning more about your experience with [career field]. I appreciate all the insight you provided into your industry and the challenges you’re having.
You mentioned that your team at [Company Name] is looking to ramp up your blogging efforts. I’d love to help your team strategize and create content to grow your blog traffic.
I’ve attached a PDF of some ideas I have for you including:
- A brief content audit of your blog
- 5 keywords with high volume you should be targeting
- How I can help you dive deeper with these projects
Take a look and, if you’re interested, I’d love to get on a call with you any day this week at noon and discuss how I can help.
There are four reasons this email is effective.
- I let Louisa know that I paid attention and didn’t waste her time
- Offered immediate value in the form of advice of how she could grow her blog
- Ending the email with something actionable you can do, schedule a call with me
- It’s not an essay.
It’s important to think of how we can provide value to the person who took time out of their day to meet with us. They might be hiring, they might have a challenge with implementing a new tool for their team, or they might benefit from an introduction to someone you know.
There is always a way to provide value.
Sean Blanda of 99u suggests we use a pen and notebook to take notes of points to follow up on during the coffee meeting. They won’t find it rude if we jot down notes as they talk. It’ll show that we take what they say seriously.
If you want to go above and beyond to keep the relationship going, it’s a good idea to set up trigger events using Google Alerts so you can keep tabs on your new connection. You’ll get notifications whenever there is news about the person and you can use this information as a reason to send over an email and check in to continue developing the relationship.
Who are you going to grab coffee with next?