Today will be an interesting dissection of networking follow up. I attend at least 3-5 networking events every week, minimum, to connect with potential prospects in my area. I enjoy connecting with so many amazing people, and at the same time my follow up after all of these networking events can be a little strenuous. So, I came up with a networking follow up system to help me more effectively connect with prospects.
Through the end of September and beginning of October I was pacing 6-8 networking events a week, in which I generally connect with 120 or more people during that time. This does not include the new connections I make on sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MLMSocial either or referrals. Between this and making sure I deliver high quality services to my clients I am busy.
That is why I started evaluating my networking follow up system in the first place. With all of these connections I have to make quick on the spot decisions on whom I will look to connect with first. Here is how I sort out the connected from the disconnected.
I fold their cards depending upon the person that I am speaking with on different corners of the card. I used my business card above as an example.
Upper Left Hand Corner: When I find a hot prospect, I fold the upper left hand corner of their business card back and forth while I am talking to them. They probably do not even know that I am doing this. This forces me to listen to their needs during the event, so I can determine if they are someone that I can help. When I do it really well, they will not even know that I am determining their needs, but just striking up a conversation. After all, networking is talking to people, not talking to numbers.
Lower Left Hand Corner: On the reverse side, there is always someone who just does not get social networking. Instead, of calling, begging, cajoling, and losing my self-dignity I let them go immediately. I fold the lower left hand corner, put their card in my pocket and do not concern myself with calling and chasing them. I will still connect with them on LinkedIn or put them on my mailing list, but for me they now have to come to me if they want to use my service. Why spend an hour pleading with someone for business when I can spend 30 minutes with a hot prospect eager for my services and get twice as many deals.
Upper Right Hand Corner: This is someone that I might not be able to help directly with my services at the moment. However, they are someone that I can help by connecting them to a current contact. I believe that it is still important to keep an eye out for who you can help in business when you are out networking. Note: I permit myself to fold both the upper left and right hand corners of the same card.
Lower Right Hand Corner: There are always the fence-sitters. Those who are not 100 percent sure of what they want to do and tell me that they are ready to make a move probably around February or March of next year. I give them my card and see if I can help them in any way and then move on. Some relationships take time to develop. However, I want to look for people who are ready to move within 30-60 days or less when I am at a networking event. I will probably see them at another networking event if they are so indecisive in looking for business, so I let time be my friend. Additionally, I connect with them also on LinkedIn and put them in my mailing list.
So that is the amazing business card folding corner system that I have developed. It might sound extravagent, but it has saved me countless hours trying to follow up with dead-end clients. Additionally, it avoids the entire should I write on their business card or not (supposed) controversy. The prospect never has to find out that I folded their card or did anything in any way that would have been a signal whether or not I should contact them. In the meantime, I get to continue with my networking follow up system.