Business owners should spend 20-25% of their workweek networking with other businesses. What many don’t think about is following up with the individuals they met during the event. There are a few things you can do to maximize your networking efforts.
Organize Contacts & Add to Your Contact Database
When you return from your networking event, organize the business cards you collected into categories. Helpful categories can be leads, services, connections, etc. This will help you in later steps when you follow up with the contacts. Remember that every person you meet is a potential referral so make sure you are professional and complete in all your correspondence with every person.
Make Notes on the Cards or in Your Online Contact Database
Whether you write on the cards, put them into an online contact list like a CRM, or add them to your address book, it is important to make notes on the cards you’ve collected. Recording traits about the person, the conversations you had, etc. will help you personalize your communication with them and remember who they are. Do this as soon as possible after the event so your thoughts and memories are fresh.
Connect on LinkedIn
Connecting with your new contacts in LinkedIn can do several things. It will allow the other person to learn about you and you to learn about them. It will also allow you to see who else they are connected with which can offer you more connections and see who you both know. Possibly the most useful thing it does is open a new channel of communication between the two of you. Email is not always the best or most reliable so now you have a backup.
Send a Note Within a Day or Two
By sending a short, handwritten note you make a personal connection with the person with whom you previously networked. Much of business today is about who you know and the connections you make, personal connections being the best kind. Knowing someone on a personal level endears you to them and they are more likely to hire or refer you.
Regardless of the type of connection you make, you always need to be promoting yourself. The best way of doing this is to develop something that shows your expertise. Something of value that you can offer. This could be a flyer, blog, newsletter, really anything that helps them remember who you are and what you do and convinces them that you are the person they didn’t know they had been looking for.
Networking events are valuable and productive. You make connections with people who can help you and people you can help. The trouble is what to do with all the information you gathered while participating in the event. With all the hats business owners wear, they often feel they don’t have time to follow up after networking events. VA on the Spot can help you record contacts and facilitate follow up emails and notes. Call us today to see how we can help you succeed, one task at a time.