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July 3, 2024

Networking Overload: You've Networked Your Heart Out, Now What?

Post By:
Michelle Caba
In-House Contributor
Founder | CEO
Fama Agency
Guest Contributor:

So, you've been hustling hard in the networking scene, rubbing elbows, exchanging business cards, and making those connections left, right, and center. But now that you've covered so much ground, you're probably wondering, "Now what?" 

As small business owners, we all understand the importance of networking—it's a key marketing tool in our arsenal to build trust, expand our brand awareness, and potentially open new revenue streams through partnerships and collaborations. But here's the thing: it's not just about showing up to every event or joining every pricey network out there. It's about being strategic and intentional with our networking efforts. 

Time is a nonrenewable resource and therefore our most precious.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and we don’t get extra because we are small business owners!

Here are some valuable insights I've gathered  from my corporate days that I implement to ensure I’m zeroing in, maximizing my efforts, and taking my networking game (and my business) to the next level.

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Harness the Power of CRM Systems:  Back in my Wall Street days, we swore by CRM systems to manage client relationships effectively. These Client Relationship Management systems keep everyone on track, from initial contact to closing the deal, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. We use Click Up because it’s easy to customize and you can add automations like sending contracts once a lead turns into a client. 

Capture Contacts Efficiently:  As soon as you snag a business card, snap a pic and have your team or VA add them to your CRM system. This ensures no lead gets lost in the shuffle, your followup is timely, and you can keep track of where everyone stands in your pipeline.

Use Apps to Replace Business Cards:  Let’s be honest, we don't want to keep business cards stuffed in boxes forever.  Invest in a business card scanner like Covve Scan which allows you to store a picture of the card, all of the contact’s details, and if you upgrade, it will even automatically feed this information to your CRM! Now you can leverage your team for other tasks.

Implement Nurturing Email Drips:  Keep the conversation going with personalized email campaigns tailored to each lead type. Show them you're genuinely interested in their needs and keep your services top of mind. We use Klaviyo because we can easily set up email and SMS flows for each of our buyer personas. 

Initiate Meaningful Interactions:  Don't just stop at exchanging pleasantries. Follow up with a personalized email requesting a “meet and greet” to delve deeper into their needs and explore how you can help.

Maintain Detailed Records:  During the “meet and greet”, stay organized by keeping a spreadsheet alongside your CRM system. Note down their name, business, contact information, where you met each contact and any potential collaboration opportunities. This will ensure a personalized communication touch.

Quantify Your Efforts:  Measure the effectiveness of your networking activities by analyzing metrics like cost per lead and conversion rates. This helps you determine which networks are worth your time and investment.

Build Trust Through Assistance:  Be proactive in helping, whether it's making valuable introductions or referrals, as well as providing quality services. Show them you're in it for the long haul, not just a quick sale.

Engage with Your New-Found Network on Social Media Platforms: Connect and follow your new contacts on whatever social media platform they use. Typically those networking are on Instagram and LinkedIn. Ensure that your own platform authentically represents you and your brand through its tone, images, and copy. Consistently posting on social media to garner your audience’s attention allows your brand to speak for itself and build trust within your network. Practice social networking and engage with your network’s posts- like, comment, and share. Send follow-up messages to nurture the relationship. You will find that when you attend future events, there will be people who are interested in meeting you due to your social media presence, fostering opportunities for collaboration and additional networking

Follow Up: Remember, a contact you meet through networking may not be an eligible client today, but circumstances can change tomorrow. By staying in touch and nurturing those relationships over time, you'll be better positioned to capitalize on future opportunities.

By implementing these strategies, you'll not only optimize your networking efforts but also deepen your relationships and solidify trust within your network. So go forth, network like a boss, and watch your business thrive!