How’s Your Follow Through?

I have a couple of missed posts to catch up on, so this one goes along with my post earlier “Your Attention Please”. How’s your follow through? What do you do with all of those business cards you collect at networking mixers and meetings? When someone says, “let me have your card”, do you just give them one of your cards, or do you also ask for their info in case they don’t call. We all have a dumping ground when we get home, the kitchen table, our desk, the bedroom dresser. We all have piles of good intentions, right? I do. I just finally stopped shuffling around a brochure for yoga classes that I’ve had for a couple of weeks and picked up the phone to call. Why is that so hard?

I’ve run into numerous realtors at networking meetings. Everyone in real estate will tell you that business is rough, because of the current economic conditions. But I have asked at least 4 or 5 realtors to help me find a place for my mom to move into. Either purchase or rent. Not one has followed up with me. Curious if business is so far and few between. So why is this, I wonder. They are waiting for me to call them? There are plenty of realtors out there – if I had a hot lead I would make it a point to make contact and see what I could do to help!

The theme of my Business Brainstormers networking meeting this week is “What to do with all of those business cards?” Surely there is some value in them, otherwise why do we collect them? Think of each business card as a potential contact, client or advocate for your business. This is the objective of networking – getting to know people and establishing a relationship, so they feel comfortable referring you to folks they run into who are looking for someone in your field. So why do those contacts end when the networking meeting is over? How much of your time would it take to follow-up? Here are some ideas I’m presenting at my networking group:

  • Always have a notepad with you and a pen.  When people ask you about your business, or for a card at networking, ask for their information in return. 
  • Don’t wait for people to contact you.  If they’ve asked for your business card, then they must have had a need in mind that you might be able to help them with.
  • Make contact within 48 hours of exchanging information.  Ask them if they’re on Facebook, or if they prefer to communicate via phone or e-mail.  Everyone is different.
  • Cards collected from networking should have a plan of action for them.  Enter them into an Excel spreadsheet, put them in your e-mail contacts list, connect with them through Facebook, LinkedIn, or Merchant Circle.  Whatever you operate in the most.
  • Make an effort to get to know those you network with on a regular basis.  Call them for coffee – people usually love to visit and talk about themselves and their ventures.  Hop onto fellow networkers websites and check out their social media.  They will be impressed that  you took the time.
  • Consider all of those business cards collected a potential contact or client – a future referral.  Even if they don’t do business with you, they have contact with other people you may not.

In summary, treat the business cards like they are a gold mine, just waiting to be opened up.  A diamond in the rough.  Remember that generally the effort you put into something, is the reward you will get out of it.  Happy connecting!

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