Many of us realise the power of networking and how it can bring in new business, but how can you make sure you make the most of going to those meetings – and ensure that you remain in the forefront of people’s minds?
I thought I would share some techniques which really seem to work, so when people need a Sage Software they think of me.
When I return home from a networking meeting it is usually with a handful of business cards. As soon as I can I enter the contact details of who I have met into our ACT! contact management database, with a brain dump of who the people are and what sort of business people are looking for. I include which meeting we met at and when. This means I remember who I have met, and I can easily put people in touch with each other if relevant.
Next I will send an email out following up any promises I made in the meeting, putting people in touch with each other or passing on useful information. In this email I also remind people who I am and ask if they would like to receive my monthly e-newsletters. I don’t assume everyone wants my newsletter, and ask people to opt in, as I know how annoying unsolicited email can be.
This two pronged approach of recording the details of meeting people, with a timely follow up, ensures that I stay in the forefront of people’s minds. It also helps me to measure the success of the meetings I go to.
This week I had a call from a company wanting an upgrade of their Sage accounts; they had got my details from their IT services provider, who in turn had heard about me from a local firm of accountants. I was able to look up in my ACT! database where I had last met someone from the accountants firm, and send a personal thank you. It turns out I had met them right back in February this year at a Towcester Business Club meeting, but they had been receiving my monthly e-newsletters. I am sure that is why, when they were asked for an expert in Sage 50, they thought of me. By acknowledging the referral and thanking them I will hopefully be thought of again when a similar situation arises.
So make sure you too become a ‘good networker’ and make the most of the time you spend going to meetings. You never quite know where that next referral is going to come from. If you are a novice networker then take a look at the post my friend Liz Broomfield, an editor, writer and proof-reader from Birmingham, has published – Networking for Newbies.