Wednesday, October 22, 2014
If you come home from a night of shmoozing at a networking mixer, you probably (or hopefully) have a stack of cards in your pocket that you intend on following up on. Many have the great-American rubber band as a filing technique. That makes it difficult to know who's really in that stack. Furthermore, it's easy to lose that stack in your desk and even easier to FORGET which ones to reach out to.
TIPS ON SORTING: THE SELECTION PROCESS
Once you get home, a nightly ritual for anyone networking is to sort your 'harvested' cards. Doing this sooner than later is best because the event is still fresh in your mind. The first thing you want to do is to separate cards into three main categories: KEEPERS, MAYBE'S AND TOSSERS.
KEEPERS are based on several key factors that you feel may bring something positive to you or your business:
- personal connection: had a great conversation
- potential business leads: referral, partner or end-user potential
These are leads that deserve to be followed up with an email, a phone call, or if there's a real connection, perhaps a face-time meeting or a lunch.
MAYBE's are those that are not necessarily someone directly of use to you but could be useful as possible vendors someday or possible connections for others.
TOSSERS: In an event, so many people attend for different reasons. They come in a wide range of industries and interest groups that may or may not pertain to your needs. When you have sifted the 3 categories and have absolutely positively identified those you have no use for, nor have any value for anyone else you may know- fling away those cards in the circular file! Tossing is a great way to limit the inevitable clutter that occurs in any business entity.
PRE-FOLLOW UP: ORGANIZING YOUR LEADS
Once you have selected which ones you want to follow up on, now you have LEADS:
1) Create a SPREADSHEET (Excel) w/ Name, Company, Phone, Email and Website. Don't worry about putting in their address- that takes up too much time in data entry and are usually not needed until you decide to visit them. Spreadsheets are an easy reference for you and your business, and is the best way to import them into your social media without time consuming typing.
2) ARCHIVE the cards on a binder and purchase business card sleeves so they are all easy to reference. Also, try to categorize the pages based on when you met.
OTHER RECOMMENDED BLOG ARTICLES:
- NETWORKING 101: How to Turn OFF People in Business Events
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