You want to know how to be a networking rockstar?!
I have news for you.
It is really quite simple:
Be a real person interested in another real person.
Everything else I have to share with you are tactics and techniques.
Be a real person. I’m not going to wax lyrical about how you have to be an extrovert. Rather, I am going to encourage you to find ways to be yourself. By showing genuine interest in other people – and allowing for the “selling” to occur at a later point in the relationship.
You first need to establish a rapport.
Then you need to listen and learn what is important to the other person.
This is about the limit of what can be achieved at a first networking event!
Entering the business cards you exchange into a CRM (customer relationship management) is not a problem in and of itself, but be careful “funnelling” your new contacts through into your email marketing workflow without further engagement.
How not to be a networking Rockstar
- Only be interested in telling everyone you meet about yourself.
- Going home (or back to the office) and entering those business cards straight into your email marketing workflow.
This is an educational announcement.
Putting someone on an email list without getting permission first is not good business.
I have attended several networking events, handed my business card over to connect later and found myself someone’s email marketing list. What is even more concerning is when i don’t even remember meeting you (and perhaps didn’t) and still end up on your email list.
While the CAN-SPAM (15 USC Ch. 103) Act allows businesses to send direct marketing emails without permission or prior “opt-in,” as long as you clearly indicate the solicitation and advertising nature of the email and its contents, until the recipient explicitly requests to opt-out (they tell you they want the emails to stop).
If you failure to comply with the act, you may be subject to substantial fines and penalties. Those penalties can be substantial: every email (an email sent to multiple addresses is counted as separate emails) that violates CAN-SPAM can result in a penalty up to $16,000. The Federal Trade Commission provides a guide to help you comply.
I don’t have that kind of money laying around, do you?
So even if it’s legal it is not good business. So ask first.
Second, if they haven’t given you permission and you start spamming their email with your promotions, it does the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve, which is to build a good rapport.
SPAM sets you up for failure, not success.
Tips for achieving Post event Networking follow up rockstar status
Write a polite, but brief, follow-up email. Do not request they sign up for your newsletter in this email. Say, “it was nice to meet you. here’s an article I thought you might find interesting because you said XYZ.
Invite your new contact to connect on LinkedIn.
Ask them to join you at an upcoming event (Chamber of Commerce, Service club (like Rotary) etc).
Make an introduction to other contact who might be able to help them, or who they might be able to help (Referrals for real clients are best)!
Follow their business on social media.
Schedule a call to touch base (not focused on selling to them).
Engage in an authentic way:
- Share articles and content relevant to the contact
- Reading, liking, commenting, and sharing their content
The bottom line is that you should focus on building a relationship of trust by providing value.
To learn more about Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates and our content creation services for law firms and social impact businesses, and how we serve the non-profit community through communications consulting, please contact us.