Many moons ago, George Bush, Sr. spoke about a thousand points of light. When it comes to growing your business, networking can be your points of light or said another way, points of contact. When it comes right down to it, you just do not know who knows whom. Every single person you meet, whether in the office, at a luncheon, or one of your children's school activities can be a potential business resource.
When you attend a function that offers nametags, wear one. And, never take it off till you are back in your car (and fairly certain there isn't anyone else left to meet). This simple action ensures that even if you meet someone on the way out the door, they will still feel comfortable speaking with you and more likely to remember your name. In a moment, we will discuss a powerful way to help them remember who you are.
Networking, is like a business within your business. Your product is your existing contacts and the commitment to helping everyone get what they desire is your service. How often and to what degree of accuracy indicates the level of service you provide in your 'secondary' business. The more diligent you are, the more likely it will come back to you by way of the other network business owners who remember you and your professionalism. The beauty of this secondary business is that we all can be owners and CEOs.
I love the thank you emails I receive when one of my contacts gets a birthday card. Better yet, the surprise in their voice when I ask about their children or help them with some piece of critical information they were chasing. When you truly care about people, making their day a little bit brighter is that much more fun. Am I one of those truly gifted people with a photographic memory or a genius with amazing recall for facts? No, I am just your average bloke who takes extraordinary care in maintaining the quality of my product line (my database). Use whatever means will work best for you. In my case, it is a combination of a powerful off-the-shelf database software, my PDA, and the diligence of keeping the contacts fresh, active and reviewed often.
I have often heard that the only reason to have business cards is so you can ask for the other person's card. However you get the card does not matter. What is meaningful is what you do with it.
I am a big proponent of note writing. I will usually write a brief note within 24 hours of a meeting. Want to really impress? Get the note out the same day and through the mail so it arrives the next day. Mention something pertinent from your brief encounter and don't sell. I cannot tell you how many people have emailed or called me upon receiving my note. We often get together to discuss mutual networks and the real business growth begins. How come they remember you so well? Because of the ten or twenty people they met, you are the only one to write them a note.
Yes, it takes time. Note writing and database maintenance takes time. Is it very costly or difficult? No. What it requires is just a little bit more effort. Hey, if an average bloke like me can do it, imagine the success you will have!
By: Robert M. Felber