Create a Networking System to Maximize your Opportunities!

In a previous post I talked about creating systems in your business to strengthen the foundation and increase productivity in your operations. My networking system is a good example of this.

I go to networking events on a regular basis. Before I developed a system, plenty of opportunities slipped through my hands because I failed to follow up. I was easily distracted by other aspects of my business that always crept up before I could follow up the next day. Creating a system kept me focused, organized and accountable. Here are five practical steps that will help you maximize your networking efforts:

  • Write notes on business cards as you get them regarding anything you promised, people you know in common, next steps. Develop a code to identify the person as a prospect, referral partner, etc. These notes will help jog your memory the next day when you’re looking at a handful of business cards.
  • When you schedule the networking event on your calendar, carve out 30 minutes the following day to follow up with new contacts, connect on social media sites and update data bases.
  • Create a follow up email template for the events you frequent the most. “Nice meeting you at XYZ event. I always enjoy their weekly, monthly…and hope you did as well…let’s get together for a call or coffee next week. I’ll give you a call to see what works best for you…”
  • Make a checklist of social media sites to connect on and databases to add to (i.e., newsletter)
  • Add to your task list and/or calendar any follow up required with new contact with a reminder right away.

These simple steps provide you with the time and tools to build relationships with more people who are important to you and to your business, whether they are a new clients, business partners or friends. Now get out there and network! And have fun!

(Hint: documenting systems in your business also makes it easier to delegate all or portions of the process to someone else.)

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