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Other people's business cards? Optimise your Networking Dollar

Written by Margaret Shakibaie
You go to many networking events, and collect lots of business cards. But what happens then? They sit on your desk in a pile and grow and grow.

Eventually you forget where you met the person, what they look like and value you could add to each other persons business. A few specific people stand out but the rest just gather dust on your desk. And that valuable networking dollar is wasted.

Here are some tips to help you get the best bang for the buck from your networking dollar.

Straight after the event

  • As soon as you get back to the office after leaving the event, grab a rubber band and a post-it note. Jot down the name of the event and the date to help you remember the details and band this on the post-it notes.
  • Keep an old shoe box as a storage for your bundles of business cards.

Three days after the event

  • Within 3 days of the event go through the cards again. Throw away any that you would never want to do business with.
  • Send a short email to each person saying how lovely it was to have met them and you have taken the liberty of adding them to your mailing list. Include an unsubscribe link.
  • Add them to your relevant weekly mailing lists

No more than two weeks after the event

  • Pull the cards out again do a bit of cyber stalking.
    • Google their business name and see what comes up
    • Follow their business page on Facebook
    • Connect with them on LinkedIn
    • Follow them on Twitter

No more than one week later

  • Pull out the cards again, and choose 1 or 2 contacts that you would really like to connect with either on a personal or business level.
  • Send them a quick email reminding them where they met you and suggest that you catch-up for a quick coffee as you would really like to know more about their business and how you could do business together in the future.

Networking is a powerful and relatively inexpensive way to market your business, but beware that all you end up with is piles of business cards that you can't remember where you got them from.

Be strategic. Optimise your networking dollar.