Networking is one part of a multiphase marketing program. In my opinion, it can be the most difficult one from which to produce measurable results.
Let’s examine the networking process. You attend a function with 30 other “hopefuls”. In the course of an hour or so, you exchange cards, have a short conversation and leave. Once you get back to the office, how many of those 30 people do you remember? Can you make a list of their names and occupations? Perhaps one name or even two will stick with you but the rest are a blur.
Your next step is to call a few and set up an appointment or to add their names to your e-mail contact list. How many of those 30 names will you actually call? How many of those 30 people do you think will remember you the next day?
Nevertheless all of us keep going to networking sessions and keep adding to our stack of cards. If the networking group is one that meets every week and has a restricted membership, you will eventually get to know all the members and can, overtime, educate everyone and actually get some referrals.
A goal at a “fast of first” networking session is to get those in attendance to remember you and to give you an opportunity to tell your story and to learn theirs. To accomplish this, we go back to “differentiation”, how can we create a memorable meeting without “embarrassing” ourselves? How can we get them to remember us and to call us or else be looking forward to a call from us?
One suggestion is for you to carry a number of small envelopes with the message, “Important, please open this only after you arrive back at your office” handwritten on the front. The other tools you need are business cards and a pen. At a “fast and first” good networking meeting, like at every other meeting, there will be some people that did not send you good “vibes”; and then there are those that you would like to spend more time with. The process is simple:
- For those that you would like meet and exchange stories, give them an envelope and a business card.
- On the business card they give you, make a check mark which will indicate that they have received an envelope.
- The rest of the people, exchange cards, have your short meeting and then go on to the next person.
Success from this process will depend upon what you put in the envelop. This is where your creativity has to go to work. As an example the note may contain the following: my goal was to select three people that I felt were in an industry that would be mutually beneficial to both our businesses. I will call in the next few days to set up a meeting to share our stories.
This is only a suggestion; you can come up with your own message. If you can attend a networking session and end up with 3 to 5 good contacts you “won”.
The common denominator of success – the secret of success of every man or woman who has ever been successful – lies in the fact that he or she formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
Nick J. Petra CFP Subscribe to this blog at www.strategicduck.com and be among the first to learn about the new way businesses will grow and excel.