Everyone hears that to promote your company, your idea, or your service, you should network with other business owners. So you’ve just returned from a 3-day conference at “Universal Whatcha-Call-it.” You’re tired and just want to relax. Then you see the pile of business card you judicially collected during the weekend.
Don’t ignore them. They’re gold.
Here’s some ideas that will help you collect more than paper:
Business cards – Those simple cards are really each prospect, a live person that seemed interested in what you had to offer. Image that each card you collect is filled with the expectation that you generated. Will you follow up? You bet. They expect it.
Write a “selfie” prompt– A keyword or two will help you remember. Take time right now and write an association word on each card that can trigger your memory later. Your brain is still on overload. Just make a note so you can have peaceful sleep.
Shuffle the deck – Decide on four classifications that you can place a business card into. Use color coding with a marker across the top, or a rubber band. Consider these categories: a) a good fit, b) maybe an affiliate or Joint Venture, c) too general to be different, and d) not interested or way out of the categories that you feel comfortable in. Make the first two groups your contacts but make the first group a high priority.
Journal your thoughts or conceptions – You’re going to get some brilliant ideas that you will lose as soon as you leave the conference room. Those little thoughts that sprout into a Joint Venture are often captured in written notes, tapes, or personal recorders. Although, some use recorders, it can be intimidating; some use index cards and sort them easily. You decide.
Take lots of pictures and upload online – One of the newest trends is to take photos, associate them with the client prospect, and post them on a convention gallery. People love to see and be seen at events. There are ultra small cameras now that you can use with discretion. Be sure to get their name, business, and website — ask first for photo permission.
Use your sincere interest and listening skills – It’s good business practice to listen to the prime speaker in any group. Take time to analyze the subject, add your two-cents when appropriate, then listen some more. Try not to interrupt just to hand that person a business card. That’s rude. Are you a good fit for that business? Ask them a question or two, then decide if you might form a new friendship. Tell them your aptitude for business that will enhance theirs. They won’t know unless you ask.
Be a person of change – While you may not do anything resounding while in session, you might take a carload of attendees to a nice place for dinner, showing them around town can break the ice later. Maybe two people that seem like a good match would not have met unless you brought them together. Watch for possibilities. It’s not just about you.
Mingle in and out – Place yourself in an unfamiliar group. It’s tough for some to do, especially when they don’t see any friendly faces. Move on to another group. Cliques form quickly, so maybe you’ll find one by cruising and using your networking skills.
Take time to shop from the display tables – Sure there’s a lot of self-promotional materials there, but you’ll also find reduced prices, a speaker’s course options, and book sales. Bringing home a book from your favorite speaker will be more beneficial down the road.
Spend quality time to send out notes – Did you know that 90% of attendees never follow-up with a card or email note? You have all those business cards and connections. Remember how your classified cards and notes were arranged? Now it’s going to be easy for you to follow up. Send out a short, friendly email to categories, “a”, “b,” and “c”. If you can personalize it with a memory, do it. E-mails will be ignored just as fast as you scan through your email subjects after a long weekend. Take the time to catch their attention in the subject line. Warning! Never automatically send emails to all persons at once without using the “Blind copy” line on your email window. Business people abhor the overflow of spam and linked emails.
So you’ve made it through another long and busy weekend. When you begin calling on your potential prospects, don’t slam your foot in their door. Always be respectful and professional in order to gain new and beneficial contacts/clients.
If you enjoy what you read here, then take look at my other blogs
A Flair For Words.com
A Flair For the Old West.com
My Rusty Bucket Ranch.blogspot.com