I have found that many shop owners, and business owners in general, regularly attend networking events. Many of them are members of various networking groups. Network events and groups offer great opportunities to grow one’s business through meeting potential customers and referral partners.
I have been involved in several networking groups over the years. I have found that many people struggle with effectively following up with people they meet at a networking event. This is understandable. If you attend a good network event, you are quite likely to walk out of the event with a pocket full of business cards. We know most people we’ve just met do not have an immediate need for our service or products.
Need help following up? Here are six tips to help you network more effectively.
The question, then, is not just how to effectively follow up, but also, how to stay top of mind in your network. That way, when the need arises for our services or products, the contact will think of us. To help with this, I want to share six tips I have picked up over the years and an amazing tool I have discovered. We will start with at the point you arrive home, or back at the office, following a networking event. You now have a pocket of new business cards.
- Take the time to email each new contact within the first 24 hours of the event. It doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. A simple, “It was nice meeting you yesterday at the networking event. I enjoyed our conversation and wanted to see if you might have some free time to grab a cup of coffee in the next week or so.” If you take notes about your conversation with the person (I write them right on their business card), you can include a reference to the conversation.
- Take advantage of social media, especially LinkedIn, by sending your new contacts a connection request. LinkedIn can be a great tool for learning about your new contact. LinkedIn can provide useful information about your new contact’s business, who they know, and their contact information beyond what is on their business card. It often has their birthday included in their profile.
- Send a “nice to meet you” card. There are a couple reasons for this. One, it will make you stand out in your contact’s network. Everyone sends email these days, but a personal note in the mail is increasingly rare. Also, because of the overwhelming amount of email most professionals receive, it is easy for your initial email to get lost. Most people say they do not read all their emails. Not to mention, emails can be quickly forgotten after they are read. A card will have a much longer shelf life.This is where I take advantage of an amazing tool I have discovered called SendOutCards along with a contact’s Facebook page. I will search for the contact’s Facebook page, find a nice photo of the person, download the photo from Facebook and upload it into my SendOutCards account. I can add the photo of the contact on the inside cover of the card and add a small picture of me near my signature. This provides facial recognition and creates that “wow” factor that will make you and your message memorable.
- Schedule and hold a one to one as soon as possible. This will provide a great opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the new contact. This way, you can learn how you can help each other.
- Remember the little things. Send birthday cards, interesting articles, referrals, and congratulations for special occasions and events. It can go a long way to building a great relationship.
- Create a follow-up reminder system. As I mentioned before, many new contacts will not have an immediate need for our services or products. Therefore, we want to stay top of mind with the contact so when the need arises, they think of us. This can be anything that puts our name in front of the contact. This can be a phone call, sending a newsletter, an invite to another network event, or a simple note to say hi.This is another area I have found SendOutCards to be incredibly useful. Taking advantage of the campaign feature, I can schedule a series of cards to go out over time. This way, I can put my follow up on virtual autopilot. SendOutCards can also send you reminders for a contact’s birthday, anniversary or any other important date.
These tips can greatly increase your return on the time you spend networking. Curious how SendOutCards can help take your network follow-up to the next level? Contact us at Turnaround Tour ShopPros today. We will be happy to get your questions answered and schedule a time to do a system walk through with you. Test drive the system. You will understand why so many are calling SendOutCards the best relationship marketing tool on the market today!