20 Apr Business Networking Tips with Business Cards
One of the best things I’ve ever done to build the local business web design / marketing area of my business is to get involved with local business networking events (breakfasts, lunches, dinners etc). Sometimes I’m a guest, other times I’m the featured speaker. Either way, they are great for meeting people and generating new leads.
Here’s an article I wrote for a local business magazine; ideas on how you can make the most of business networking events. Enjoy!
Did you go to the last networking night? I did. Did you meet some new people? I did too. How about grab a few new business cards? Yep, good idea.
Did you get back in touch with those people you met looking for a way to ‘connect’ with them? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Networking with others is Vital.
When I go to some kind of networking event I specifically look for people that I don’t know that I can spark up a conversation with. During that conversation I look for opportunities to help them. Perhaps they need some advice on SEO. Maybe they need help with their shopping cart, or their social media strategy. Whatever it is, I look for a need where my business can service that need.
If it seems I *can* help in some way, then I suggest we catch up for a cuppa some time and swap business cards. Other times I find that I can’t help because there is no immediate opportunity – we still swap business cards and then I go meet someone else.
Here’s the thing: For the 3 or 4 people I might meet who have an immediate need (a problem that needs to be solved now), their business cards go in one pocket… for the other people, and their business cards go in the other pocket.
This is important because the last thing I want to do is end up with a fistful of business cards that are meaningless.
But you have to do this –
The next day I sit down and look at the cards – those whom I can be of some help to I send an email straight away and offer them some of my time in exchange for a coffee. I also put them into my follow up system and FOLLOW THEM UP for at least 4 weeks or until I get a reply – yes or no.
The others get a different email; and this is where you can capitalise on prospects for your business who are *not* prospects.
Let me explain…
About a year ago I set up a separate website just to promote my eNewsletter. It’s a single page, what we in the business call a “Squeeze Page”, and it asks people to Subscribe or go away. There are no other choices.
My newsletter goes out once a week and each issue contains nothing more than a powerful “Quick Tip” that will help people get better results through their online business. It’s a simple concept that has far reaching benefits.
I want to build TRUST. I want to give people incredible VALUE. I want to show people that I *am* an expert in my industry.
And for those people whom I swapped cards with who don’t have an immediate need… I email *them* and ask them to subscribe to my newsletter; because I know that when the time comes and they *do* have a need… they will call me.
So – what could YOU do?
If you’ve got an eNewsletter than you can easily follow my model. But it has to be weekly delivery and it has to be QUICK to read.
Maybe you want to build your Facebook or Twitter following. Sure. But keep in mind that these ‘followers’ are never as responsive as a good email database of the same size.
Whatever it is, when it comes to business networking, you *have to* have a way to connect with both those people who need your products or services now, AS WELL as those who don’t.
That’s how fortunes are made!