In one of the summer seminar classes for the MBA/MSA students here at Ohio University, the instructor talks about the importance of referrals to the sales process. Referrals can be referrals for selling sponsorships/tickets/etc. and even referrals to other people in the industry to help you sell yourself in order to get a job/internship. One of the things he hits on is the importance of following-up with those people who gave you the referral. It’s important just to update them on what happened with their referral and let them know the status. You don’t have to give them constant updates. It can be as simple as “I contacted “x” and we have a follow-up call scheduled for next week. Thanks again for the contact.” I have to say that in the last several weeks I've experienced this firsthand.
One of the students in the class of 2009 is a close friend. Several weeks ago, one of her classmates asked me to help him out in pursing contacts in the pro sport of his choice. I was happy to do it. Helping students find and build their network is actually one of the things I really enjoy doing. I have two classmates in the sport of his choice. I contacted them personally, gave them info on this student, and then asked if he could schedule some time to talk to them. Both of them took time out of their schedule to talk to him. (That's part of the beauty of the OU SAFM network. Almost everyone is willing to help out fellow SAFM people.)
I've yet to hear another word from this student. Last week at an SAFM event I saw him and asked him how the conversations went. He told me that they went well and that one of my classmates gave him a suggestion that could lead to an internship. Great news! I’m really happy for this guy, but it would have been nice to hear this several weeks ago when it happened. None of us in the industry who help students are asking them to grovel at our feet or kiss our asses, but basic courtesies go a long way. I’m not saying that I absolutely won’t help this guy again if he asks, but I’m honestly not sure how much effort I’ll put forth on his behalf. I’ll think twice about it before I make a final decision, that’s for certain.