Business networking – don’t just gather names

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Gathering a stack of business cards at a networking meeting isn’t the way to grow your business. It’s a way to add more clutter to your office.

business cards pileSeriously – having a superficial conversation then grabbing their card does you no good.

If you are one of the rare people who actually does something with the cards you collect you’re still not likely to get results. If you email this person it’s SPAM. They won’t remember you and didn’t ask for the contact. In fact, your message may hit their SPAM filter.

You could send snail mail – an actual letter. Better than an email but seriously, what kind of impact will it have if you know nothing about this person and they don’t remember you?

You could phone them. This is better still. However, how is this different than a cold call? If you didn’t have a real conversation with this person they’re going to wonder why you’re calling and perhaps even who you are.

So how do you handle networking events and business cards? My advice is to have a real conversation with two or three people and start building a relationship.

Ask questions about them and their business. How did you get started in your business/industry? How has your industry changed over the years? Who are your ideal clients and how could I recognize them? What is one thing you’d love help with right now? Really listen to the answers and get to know the person. You’ll be far more memorable than if you just grabbed their card and ran.

The same is true with social media. Having a huge list of friends, fans or followers does you no good if they don’t know who you are and don’t care. Take the time to read their profiles, read their posts, make comments and ask questions. Help promote them. Be a resource without asking for anything in return.

Trust me, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Andrea Stenberg

 What do you do to make a connection on or off line? Please leave a comment and share your stories and experiences.

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