Women of Women Belong, this one is for you! You know that networking is a great way to grow your business and circle of contacts, but keeping track of who you’ve met and potential leads can be challenging. Plus, how embarrassing is it to show up to an event and discover you’ve forgotten your business cards? I asked some WoBe friends what their greatest organizing challenges were when networking and can share the following tips:
- Scan collected business cards to Evernote with the camera on your phone. This handy app will populate predetermined fields like name, business and phone number with the information it identifies on a business card. Link it to your LinkedIn account and it will also pull the public profile from any contact. It’s modern technology at its finest! In the notes field you can add where and when you met, and the reminder function can alert you when it’s time to follow up with your new contact.
- The easy, old fashioned route is still a winner too! Write the date/place/occasion you met someone on her on the business card. Add a star to those you want to follow up with via email asap. Did you promise to send a link to one of your blogs, or email-introduce them to someone else in your network? Jot this down as well and you’ll look like a super star for following up.
- In either case, be sure to set aside time to further connect with your new contacts when you get back to your office. Put the pile of business cards near your computer or set a reminder to reach out to those whose business cards you’ve recently in Evernote.
- In Women Belong we pride ourselves on giving good referrals and introducing potential power partners. While “Connecting two entrepreneurs” or “Networking introduction” may be truthful email subjects, going one step further makes it easier to differentiate all the connections you are making or receiving. Try consistently titling your emails “E-intro Contact A – Contact B” and see how well it works. For example, a quick search of my mail using the terms “E-intro” and “Kate” shows that I have email-introduced Kate to two contacts in the last year and a half.
- For any networking group you regularly attend, use a specific tote bag to transport supplies. In my designated WB bag, a lovely green Shaklee tote from a circle friend, I keep an extra supply of business cards plus anything I want to bring to our next circle, like a Swedish book for Bergen, yarn for Katy’s work art project, or a gift card for Dos Riccos. This saves me having to run around on a Monday morning gathering what I need.
- Bonus tip for Women Belong leadership: Search your email for “DOW MMM D(D)” (DOW = Day of week abbreviated to three letters, MMM = Month abbreviated to three letters and D(D) = Date). The result list will show every guest or substitute registered for that date’s meeting.
Content provided by Women Belong member Kelly Brask