(Part 3 of a 3 part series on better networking). If you missed Part 2, click here.
After the event…Here’s where the real magic begins.
Follow up the next day. I know how it feels “Uh! I’ve been to the networking event and I’ve got all this work to do today. I’m busy. I’ll get to it later.” I’ve done that myself. But if you call them the day after to tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, you’re going to be the person they remember. It makes a huge impression.
I met a young web designer at a networking event and he was a nice guy, but we work with several people – network designers and web designers that we already trust. I spent some time asking him my questions and enjoyed talking with him and them moved on to another person. He called me the next morning to thank me for all the advice that I had given him the night before. I’ll tell you, I was so impressed by how quickly he reconnected with me. I’m definitely keeping him in mind.
You don’t want to just make the call either. Send them a hand written note. Who does that anymore? It makes a huge impression. Again, a lot of work, but if you want to build your business, you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Tip here. Think about signing up for something like Send Out Cards. This is a great service. You can send the card from your computer. You get to use your own signature, type in whatever you want. They mail it out. They put the stamp on and mail it out. It usually gets there within 24 hours.
When you send out the card, make sure you’re referencing something that you talked about, so that they know that you really remember the conversation that you had with them the night before.
Here’s where the social media stuff comes in: You want to connect with them on whatever social media sites they “play” on. You can really learn a great deal about them and what they’re saying by watching what they’re doing on social media. If you link to them with LinkedIn, you’ve got a way to always stay in touch and you can really network with the – ask them for introductions to people they are connected with.
You can use your status updates to let them (and your whole network) know about great blog sites that you read and other information they may find helpful. And when you are connected to them, you can send specific information directly to them about their business, for their business. Again, the idea here is to be helping them and then they naturally want to help you.
So you sent your card, you called them, set an appointment to meet with him. You want to meet for coffee or lunch. This is the time to delve into what they do and what you do in much deeper detail. Maybe invite them to your office or you go to their office so that you can actually see the inner workings of their business. Truly valuable networking is about developing these really nice, long term relationships.
I recommend meeting with them more than just that one time. If it makes sense for you and them, maybe set a monthly appointment to help each other’s business grow. I got a call from someone I met at a networking event just yesterday with a fantastic lead. I used this whole process. We went to coffee the week after we met. We spent, honestly, two hours over coffee really understanding each other’s backgrounds and how we dealt with our clients. We could see that we jelled and not a week after that, just yesterday, she gave me this lead. This stuff really works.
If these people that you’re meeting with have a complimentary business to yours…Say that you are in the HVAC business and you’ve met a plumber and you don’t do plumbing, here’s a time that you can talk about some joint marketing efforts. Maybe you help each other in your blogging efforts. You can be a guest blogger or they can be a guest blogger for you. You can do some joint educational seminars or joint mailings or maybe just a letter saying I recommend if you ever need this service this is the guy you should work with. It’s a great way to grow your database.
Through all of this, you really want to take the time and steps to nurture your relationship. You want to spend the time to take the business card information and put it in your database. If you’ve asked them for permission to send them information, now you’ve got all these great new names to nurture on your list.
Take the time to become a master networker and you will see your business grow.
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