For business owners and executives, network marketing is a big investment of time. Between idle time before and after the event, travel, and the event itself, you’re often looking at a good 2-3 hours of your day right there. Business owners are willing to invest this time because if done right, network marketing is a good way to generate leads, grow your sales funnel and grow your business.
There are two parts to an effective network marketing campaign. The first part involves being an effective and engaging networker during the event. The second part involves what happens after the event.
How can you translate time spent networking into more business? Below are sales follow up tips to help you convert leads into clients:
Follow up after the event!
Believe it or not, many people stop at this stage of the process. They spend hours during the week at various networking events, meet new people and make new connections, but then fail to take it any further.
People either think they didn’t make any noteworthy connections, didn’t connect with any potential clients/customers, or in some cases, there is a hesitation to push the process forward. Often times, this is fueled by a fear of rejection.
Remember, you’re not at networking events to sell. You’re there to meet new people, connect with people in your target market, connect with those who can put you in front of your target market, and get permission to set up follow meetings.
Prioritize your follow ups
It doesn’t make sense to set follow up meetings with everyone you meet at a networking event. However, if you’re new to sales and new to networking, it can be good practice to meet with as many people as possible in order to develop your comfort and skills. In either case, you still need to prioritize who you will follow up with. To do this, it’s key to know who your target market is, and know what type of people can connect you with your target market.
When sorting through all the business cards collected after an event, consider the following suggestions:
- Note contacts with needs your services/products can address
- Note contacts who fall into your target market
- Note contacts who can put you in front of your target market
- Note contacts who you connected well with
These are just some suggestions to consider. Think of more guidelines that make sense for your business. Figure out a way to rank your contacts based on the guidelines you come up with. For example, contacts in your target market and who expressed needs could be top level priority contacts to follow up with whereas contacts who expressed needs but fall outside of your target market could be 2nd level priority follow ups.
Don’t spend too much time on follow up messages
Too many people spend unnecessary amounts of time trying to craft the perfect follow up message. Too often, people try to reestablish their own credibility, reintroduce their products and services, communicate the benefits and value, and try to set up a follow up meeting, all in a single email. Be honest with yourself, and think about how you respond when someone sends you an email of this nature. Now ask yourself these two questions:
- How much time are you spending on follow up messages?
- What are you communicating in these messages?
Essentially, your follow up message only needs to contain 4 core points.
- Remind the receiver who you are
- Remind them where you met
- Let them know why you want to further connect
- Suggest dates and times for a follow up meeting
What you can do
1.) Read our blog Networking tips for small business owners
2.) Set a goal for the number of new connections you will make at the next event you attend
3.) After the event, rank the connections you made
4.) Send short, concise, follow up notes suggesting follow up meetings
5.) Contact us at any time to talk discuss ways to increase sales and grow your business