Hey April. I would be glad to come over and help you set up your Send Out Cards thing!! I know Zita's system works, and you could partner that with SOC!!
I've met so many new people since I started this networking thing that keeping track has become a new source of misery for me. I just got an email from someone named Deb. Apparently I met her Friday. Her email included a last name, but in order for me to remember who Deb is I will have to sort through a pile of business cards and brochures that has grown to unmanageable proportions. Couldn't Deb have said more than "It was great to meet you yesterday". Maybe something like "Remember me? We raved about the chocolate truffles" or "I am the lady with 6 cats". Deb, please don't make me go to that pile!
Yesterday started at 7am with a talk to a Rotary, an eWomen luncheon, a meeting with an auction committee and ended at Christ the King's Fall Festival. I want to email Deb back and say "more information please", but no respectable networker would ever step in it that deep. Of course, had I been following the steps of my networking guru Zita Gustin, I could flip open my little notebook and find a notation I made on Deb, along with her business card and the reason Deb might even want to send me an email saying it was nice to meet me. Following Zita's advice, I would have already written and mailed her a note on my way home Friday extolling Deb's virtues. Come to think of it I haven't sent Zita a thank you note for the amazing seminar she gave and I attended last week on this very subject. THANK YOU ZITA! Hugs hugs kiss kiss.
It's not that I don't want to be in touch with Deb. I bought one of those electronic card swipers but it required setting up something or other on my computer. I bought Send Out Cards so someone could send something out for me, but I still have to go through those piles, get organized and type in the data from all those cool people. I bought a case of note cards, again with good intentions and well, I still have that case of note cards and good intentions.
There in lies the guilt and pain of networking. The Pile. Let me guess. You have one too? Does your pile include business prospects, the possibilities of friendships and stuff you would probably buy if you converted those prospects into clients and friendships into support? I can look around my office in any direction and see piles that if organized and cataloged would likely greatly enhance my bottom line. I have the pile from the eWomen Conference I attended in July in Dallas, the pile from Association of Fundraising Professionals and the pile from Northwest Events Show. I have lots of mini piles from breakfast meetings, luncheons and mixers. Short of hiring a personal assistant, I doubt those piles will disappear and worse yet, I may never connect with those cool people.
Networking requires followup. Followup requires organization. Organization requires a system. A system requires learning. Learning requires time.
I can smell it now. The aroma of a fresh baked chocolate cake cooling in the kitchen waiting for my fluffy cream cheese frosting. The pile can wait for another day.
Learn more about the author, April Brown.
Of course Zita Gustin's system works. She is the christ of networking. I'm a well-intended disciple.
Sendout Cards is awesome and on my To Do list.
Oh April, I can so identify! I'm meeting so many great people but I find I'm better at the initial "Hello!" than the follow up.
(Btw, I'm Kate from Total Wealth Coaching, and I sat across from you at the last eWomen luncheon in Bellevue.)
The month before at that same luncheon, we got some great tips on following up. I think I even had a system working for a couple weeks!
One thing I am finding is that I have to schedule TIME to follow up. (I used to think I was disorganized, but the truth is, I'm perfectly capable of organizing when I prioritize it.)
I even wonder if I'm doing too MUCH networking. With less networking and more time following up, I'll have better results than starting conversations that I may not finish or continue in a timely manner. The follow up does happen, but like you, I'd like it to be more effortless! I'm thinking...
I can follow up quickly and easily... just as soon as I clean my office, gather up all my addresses, new and old, then interview and hire a VA, decide what systems I want, get a new database set up, oh, but I've gotta do some extra work to pay for the VA...
Nah, I'll just put the cards in a pile by my computer and follow up when I get a spare moment!
I did enjoy the article, even though you didn't SOLVE the problem for us both! (Magic networking follow-up wand...?)
Kate ps - does this count as follow up!?
PS - I was at an event earlier this year for workshop trainers and coaches, with various presenters. The presentation that made me feel the MOST overwhelmed was the gal talking about how to hire and delegate to a support staff! It sounded great once you got it going, but it sounded like you've have to practically take months off to get all your "systems" and delegatees in place.
In real estate (I'm a recovering realtor) I always felt this pressure to "go bigger," assuming that a bigger business was a better business. As Lynn Twist (The Soul of Money) says, it is a toxic lie of scarcity that "more is better." One day I decided to have a "boutique business" and keep it small. I cut back the one assistant I did have, stopped advertising, and ended up much happier in my business for the final three years.
Hi Kate, I wonder sometimes about going to too many networking events. Like you I am organized about everything else. Next year I plan on hiring a PA. Hopefully she can keep me in order.
I'm staying away from events until the end of November. That is my solution for the time being. I will see you at the 10-20 eWomen luncheon. April
Hi April, I love this article! I may address my paper piles this evening...or the clean laundry pile that has waited more than a week for me to sort through .....or the pile of dishes that stack up while I'm away from home...or.... or.... maybe I'll just go home, put my feet up, snuggle under the blanket I have draped over my big chair, eat a pile of nacho cheese tortilla chips and play sudoku. Hmmm... that last pile sounds the best right now! Have a good day!
Penny..... ex-CEO of New Horizon School where we met and now a barista/owner of Espresso Buono in Lynnwood.
Get the iphone Business Card Reader App. It is amazing...it scans the card and inserts the information into your database. Check for mispellings but so far I'm impressed!