Timely and relevant follow-up to a random encounter will keep the momentum moving in the right direction and position you for a successful outcome. However, there’s more to the story. With the eye-popping, head-spinning growth of the Internet and its pivotal role as a repository of information about people’s personal and professional lives, managing one’s online presence has become an essential part of how we present ourselves to the world—and how others perceive us. The likelihood that the people you meet will check you out on the web is growing every day, especially if they have an initial interest in buying from, hiring, partnering with, investing in, or continuing to be involved with you for any other reason.
Your initial random encounter will allow you to establish your credibility, build the connection, pique interest in what you have to offer, and establish a basis for further contact. But even the best in-person random encounter can be undermined by a poor showing in a Google search once your new contact accesses the Internet after your meeting. There are countless reasons to manage your web personality, or what I call your “webonality,” and establishing legitimacy for yourself and whatever you represented in your initial encounter is at the top of the list. For better or worse, who you are online is who you are in life. And it is increasingly the case these days that if you don’t exist online, you simply don’t exist. To a large degree, a favorable ...