Let Your #Business Card Build Your #Network

Business cards aren’t just for giving to people – they are a tool to launch a conversation and for building relationships. Don’t just assume that as soon as you hand over your card, that you instantly have a new member in your network!! There is more to the act of exchanging business cards than many people think. Try following the advice given to me when I first started networking and you will soon find that you are on your way to establishing good business relationships with many of the people you come into contact with at networking events.

  1. Make An Impact

You’ve just exchanged business cards and yours is immediately lost in a bulging pocket full of change, receipts and sweet wrappers – it is disheartening! Treat your new contact’s card in the way you would like yours to be treated – show it some respect! Take time to read it, make comment on your contact’s card (whether it is about the design, location of offices, job title, etc) – it shows that you are taking an interest and time to digest the details. It opens up a dialogue and one that you can return to in the future.

  1. Keep The Ball Rolling

Follow up your new contact within the next two days whether it is by email or by phone. First time contact should be friendly and relate to issues that are of interest to you both. For example, suggest future networking events which may be of mutual benefit and where you may have the opportunity of slowly building a relationship following on from your initial meeting.

  1. Social Networking Is Key

Reconnecting with your new contact via professional networks such as “linked in” is vital and communicating in this way will allow the other person to read your profile and learn more about you, as well as giving them a good insight into your strengths and similar areas of interest. This will encourage areas of discussion which will evolve naturally when you next meet and enable the relationship to grow.

  1. Attention To Detail

Build on the foundations of your new relationship by remembering the important details. We meet so many people at networking that retaining every detail may seem an impossible task! Invaluable advice given to me is to write down the details that were discussed after each meeting for each person and store all the information relating to that contact in an accessible area such as Outlook or your CRM program. Main points to note after your initial meeting should include:

  • Full name
  • Role
  • Company
  • Phone number and email address
  • How and where you met?
  • Place of residence
  • Personal information such as family member names, ages and hobbies
  • Topics that were covered in your conversation
  • How can you benefit each other from the skills you possess and the services you both offer

Before your next meeting, have a quick refresh of any notes made and this will allow you to confidently highlight some relevant issues that you covered in your first conversation and also demonstrate your interest in what the person said to you last time you met.

  1. Nurture The Relationship

Make sure that you stay in touch every now and again, whether it’s by attending the same networking events or by sending an email to share news about information which you feel may be of benefit to your contact such as business developments, or simply a seasonal greeting.

 Remember …….. if you take the time to talk to and learn about the other person and how you can help each other, from the point of introducing yourself and exchanging business cards, you have created the opportunity to establish and grow a new, and potentially fruitful, relationship for the future.

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