I’ve been doing a lot of networking since starting my business. I typically attend three or more networking events every month, and sometimes more if I can fit it into my schedule! I meet all types of business professionals, small business owners, and sales people. I’ve found that what makes me stand out from all the other people who are networking is I use the relationship marketing approach and follow up with each person I meet. I created a follow up process that is cost-effective and doesn’t take up a lot of my time. Here is what I do:
- When I get back to my office, or within 24 hours, I add each business card I received to my contacts management system, and mail each person a “nice to meet you” greeting card. (I use my Send Out Cards System to save time, which prints a personalized handwritten card, addresses the envelope, adds the postage, and mails it out for me, and an Excel Spreadsheet to keep track of my contact activity to stay organized).
- I mark my calendar to phone each new contact within one week to invite them to meet me for a cup of coffee or schedule a time that would be convenient for them to chat via phone for about 15 or 30 minutes to learn more about their business and how we might be able to help each other.
- I then add the contact to my social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- If I was unable to connect with them the first week, I send them an email the second week to follow up on my invite, and attempt to connect again.
- If a successful connection is made, after the meeting, I mail a thank you greeting card within 24 hours.
- I make it a point, after a meeting with any new contact, to try and give them a referral within 30 days. I am not always successful in my efforts, but ideally I would like to make this happen each time.
- I then add the contact to my Nurture Marketing Program, which is a 6-12 month program designed to stay in touch with prospects every 30 days, whether it’s sending them a postcard or letter introducing a service idea, an article or news clipping that I think they might be interested in reading, an email with a link to a new blog post I wrote, or a phone call to see how business is doing and see if there is anything I can do to help.
The idea is to do anything that keeps you in front of your prospects on a consistent basis to build a relationship — and it should be something your prospects would find of value. Remember, people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Keep in mind whether you attend one networking event a day, or one every two months, having a simple follow up system in place and using it on a consistent basis, will dramatically improve your networking results.
If you want to learn more about how to set up a follow up system for your business, or need help implementing and maintaining your existing one, call me or email me to set up a complimentary consultation.
I would also welcome your comments about what you are doing currently in your business to keep in touch with clients and prospects and learn from you what has worked and what hasn’t in the past.
Author bio: Lisa Salem is a Professional Executive Virtual Assistant, Nurture Marketing Virtual Assistant, and experienced Transcription Virtual Assistant. As the President and Managing Member of Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC, she has over 30 years of administrative and business management experience. Lisa works to promote the Virtual Assistance industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Lisa loves helping her clients build successful businesses by taking the administrative tasks off their “to do” list so they can have more time to focus on the core business priorities that will generate income and accelerate business growth. Her style is easy going, yet focused, with emphasis placed on going the extra mile to exceed clients expectations by providing quality service, excellent value, and total satisfaction to ensure long-term dedication, loyalty, and results.
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