Networking takes a lot of time, so why do you have a pile of business cards sitting on your desk?
If you spent the couple of hours going to the networking event and the awkwardness of introducing yourself to people you didn't know, why haven't you done anything with their contact information? Not only is it a waste of your precious time, those business cards represent missed sales, partnerships, or referrals. Yes, that pile of business cards is lost revenue.
I was a pro at collecting business cards and piling them up on my desk. Many of my clients had similar issues and we all felt guilty about it. When thinking about what was holding me up and what I heard from others, is that we feel the need to personalize each follow up connection. It feels like it will take a lot of time to do, which is why we all procrastinate on taking the next steps. The expectations of personalizing emails after a networking event is pretty limited, so why do we over complicate it?
The system and automation I designed, Connect After Networking, tackles the challenge by standardizing your desired outcomes and personalizes the communication just enough. The best part is that it reduces your time spent on follow up by 60%.
Step 1: Define the common outcomes you want from these connections.
I am networking where I will meet my ideal client, people that also do business with my ideal client and could refer me, or other business owners developing their skills. The most likely outcomes from these connections are:
Connect on LinkedIn
Connect on LinkedIn and ask them if they would like to be added to my mailing list
Connect on LinkedIn, mailing list, and schedule a meeting
Schedule a sales call
Simplifying the desired outcome into four buckets, makes the next actions much more clear. There will be some people you meet that are simply not a fit and I give you permission to throw those business cards out. Don't feel guilty about it.
Step 2: Write connection emails for each bucket and include an online appointment link as appropriate.
LinkedIn - Make sure to use the personalized connection note and mention where you met them.
Email connection & request to add to mailing list - Tell them it was great to meet them. Ask them what they liked best about the event. And mention you'd like to add them to your mailing list.
Email, mailing list and meeting - These are basically the same with an additional sentence or two about the desire for a quick meeting. Make sure to include an online scheduling link.
Schedule a sales call - Keep this short and sweet focusing on building rapport. Include an online schedule link for your sales calls.
For the emails, review this Blog Post for how to create canned emails that are quick and easy to customize.
Step 3: Automate your follow up activities.
If you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with marketing automation, you will no longer have to send the emails and remember to follow up on meetings you want to schedule. My automation starts when a contact is tagged to either "connect" or "coffee". They receive a personalized email and appropriate follow ups.
Step 4: Schedule time after the event for follow up.
Now that you have your system in place, schedule time following an event to follow up with your new connections. You want to follow up within 24-48 hours because you want your connection to remember you. This is a great article from Forbes that highlights the importance of a quick turnaround on your follow up.
Step 5: Process the business cards.
Sort the business cards into each of the buckets. I use sticky notes to label each pile because sometimes I am sorting 30 business cards.
Connect on LinkedIn.
For those you are emailing, enter the contact information into your CRM.
The beauty of the CRM and automation is that once I mapped out how I want to connect with people after networking events, I just enter the contacts information and the software does the rest. This makes connection super easy and much quicker.
Connect like the Boss you are! Make a plan, create standard emails, and automate it, so all you need to do is enter the new contact into your CRM.
MSD Advisors is passionate about creating kick-ass systems that unchain you from your desk and get you out into the sunlight! After working together, you can say goodbye to frenetic action and worry because your business will run like clockwork. You will reclaim time to focus on well, whatever you want!
There is no better time than now to get started! Schedule a breakthrough call today.