Perhaps this may seem like a bizarre topic for a systems strategist to talk about – gift giving. But let me first tell you about some experiences that I’ve had with it recently.
In March of this year, I attended the Be The Change Event that my marketing and business coach Suzanne Evans delivered. Before I went, I had a plan – I wanted to find JV (joint venture) partners. I didn’t specifically go there to find clients, I wanted to find people who might want to partner and work together.
I put together a free gift that I wanted to give to everyone who I exchanged a business card with – and not just another report, but something that they could actually use. I ended up creating a Network Success Blueprint, complete with a plan on how to prepare for a networking event before, during and after; including a flowchart of how to implement the follow-up.
I used my own blueprint plan to follow-up with everyone who I met at the event and let them know where they could download their free gift.
And here’s what happened. I had 34 business cards. Almost all of them downloaded the Blueprint. And then this great thing started to happen. People were signing up for it who weren’t there – the people that I gifted it to, shared it with others and they downloaded it.
Within a couple of days I started getting phone calls from people I had not met who weren’t even at the event wanting to interview me for their list!
The reason that I share this story with you is because is a systemized process to networking. I used the same process again at another networking event – and the same thing happened – people began contacting me to do events with them.
Here is the strategy to get ready for your next networking event:
1. Know what your goal is. What is the reason you are planning to go to a networking event. Is it to find clients, find other people to partner with or simply go to learn. Whatever your goal know it ahead of time.
2. Schedule your follow-up time before you go. That’s right! You know you’re going to the networking event. You’ve heard that the fortune is in the follow-up. So that is why you block out time in your calendar NOW before you go. When you get back, you won’t have to make time for it, it’s already there.
3. Give a Gift. Have a gift or an offer that is special. That is not something that normally can be found on your website. Send an email (or have your assistant do this) to all of those you met following-up and genuinely giving them the opportunity to get your gift. This is how you will list build, and ultimately begin to find your clients. Once they see how generous you are and the resource has value to them, they will be more interested in contacting you. It’s building that Know, Like, Trust factor.
Now that you armed with that information before you head off to your next networking event, you will be prepared as to exactly what you are going to do when you get home. This will significantly reduce the overwhelm.
AND Bonus Tip #4 if you communicate your strategy with your admin support person before you go, they can be ready to handle the automation of the follow-up emails as soon as you return and hand over the cards.