So here you are, 12 – 36 hours after a fabulous event. You met 20 interesting people, patiently worked the room with genuine interest, honed your skills at listening for referral cues and built up a store of goodwill because you were helpful. You’re probably still congratulating yourself on how awesome you were!
Great, but don’t get too carried away. This job is not over. In fact, you’ve only just scratched the surface.
Those Business Cards You Collected
Keep every business card you’re ever given.
On each, write the date and where you were when you met them. Store these in a business card box in alphabetical order based on occupation. Accountants, Bookkeepers, Cleaners etc. This is your personal database.
If you diligently do this, over the course of a year going to one networking event per month you’ll probably collect over 200 cards. That’s 200 people whom you may be able to easily refer other contacts or business to. If appropriate, make sure you contact them before you do to gain their permission.
Here’s the deal. Since you met these people at an event, spoke to them and shared a moment…
It’s not a cold call!
Besides, you’re not asking for anything. You’re helping two others expand their networks.
So next time someone asks you for a photographer, whip down to P and look for a couple of names that may suit. Simple!
Also, download one of the many phone apps that allows you to take a picture of the card and store the details in your phone. This is great for immediately passing on the details of people you are confident will be grateful for the extra connection.
Let’s Work Some More Numbers
Those 20 people you met probably each know 100 more. So if you could build a store of goodwill with them you could gain access to 2,000 people. Got your attention?
That’s 2,000 people who also probably know 100 others each. Are you now beginning to understand the real benefit of networking?
The people in the room are the tip of an iceberg that could
sink a fleet of Titanics!
Never lose sight of that.
So, muster some more of that bravery which is becoming second nature to you now, pick up the phone and make some calls. Before you do, carry out some research by looking them up on www.businessinheels.com LinkedIn and their company website to find out a little more about them. How much of a WOW factor will that create when you talk to them? Mention a couple of things you’ve learned from your research in the phone conversation then pop that question when appropriate –
“Would you be interested in getting together for a coffee
so I could learn more about your business?”
Now, of course time is a factor – that’s life. So don’t even try to contact them all. Be selective. Base the choices you make on the information you’ve gained and your intuition resulting from your encounter at the event. And remember, when networking you are never just talking to one person.