How to Network and Follow-up
by Tyrone Turner, Copyright © 2008, All rights reserved
You can have great marketing brochures, a killer website, and an awesome product/service. However, people will buy from those that they like, know, and trust, and the only way that you're going to accomplish that is to build a relationship.
Here is a 10-step follow-up system on how to build relationships with new people that you meet:
First things first, have your "quickie pitch" and your "60-second commerical" prepared!
Here is the format for the quickie presentation (approximately 10 seconds long):
My name is ___. I market a (product/service) that (what it does). My ideal customers are (describe target customer). Who do you know who would be interested in learning more about a product/service like that? Let me know, okay?
Here is the format for the 60-second presentation:
My name is ___. I market a (product/service) that (what it does). My ideal customer are (describe target customer). My motto/tagline is (your catchy motto or tagline here). Please let me know if you know somebody that would be interested in learning more about a product/service like that, okay?
- Approach and Interview the new person and ask "Who are you, and what do you do?" Ask the new contact what they do and who their ideal customer is. Take notes on what they say. Make sure to have a little notepad. Gather as much contact information as possible (i.e. mailing address, e-mail, and fax). Note: If the person is reluctant to give you their mailing address, just tell them that you want to send them product samples or information about your business.
- Quick Pitch or 60-Second Commerical - If they haven't already asked you, ask them if you can briefly tell them about your business. Usually, the quick pitch is the way to go but if the environment allows it, and they person is asking you a lot of questions, go with the 60-second commercial.
- Graceful exit - Give them permission to work the room, and promise them that you will be in touch as you want to learn more about them and their business.
- Update your contact manager - When you get back to your office, input their information into your contact management system (e.g. Outlook, Sugar, Act, Goldmine, SendOutCards, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc., or an Excel spreadsheet)
- Email (or fax) them a "nice meeting you" note.
- Direct mail - Send them a "nice meeting you" greeting card via the U.S. Postal Service. A greeting card is 11x more likely to be read when compared to a letter.
- Phone call to check-in - 5 business days later, if the new contact hasn't already called you, pick up the phone and call them. Make sure to ask them if you have caught them at a good time! Schedule a phone conference or a face-to-face meeting to discuss business matters. The purpose of this meeting is to learn more about their business to see if you two can somehow help each other out down the road - if the chemistry is right and after you have developed trust.
- Appointment (face-to-face, video conference, or phone conference) and Exchange Marketing Material. On the phone conference/at the face-to-face meeting, learn all that you can about their business. Ask questions about who their ideal customers are, and what other types of businesses service their target market. At the end of the meeting, ask them to give you brochures and other information about their business, and hand or mail them info about your business. On a face-to-face meeting, bring a small gift. I typically bring a small bag of candies, or some company-branded giveaway like a pen or mug. Sometimes, I'll give them an educational CD (Ivan Misner, Robert Kiyosaki, or David Bach). Make sure to tell the other person that you will be following up on "x" date to discuss what you've read about their product/service, and to get feedback on what they learned about yours.
- Follow-up phone call - The million dollar question: "So, what do you think?" Commit to them, that as you two get to know, like, and trust each other over time, you will be keeping your eyes and ears open to send business their way when possible.
- Never stop following-up - periodically check-in with them to to share information and just to say "hi". Mix up and space out your approach. Use text e-mail, audio e-mail, video e-mail, fax, direct mail, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. Never, ever, ever try to hard-sell them. The info you gave them about your business and your character will do the selling for. Just remind them from time to time what is is that you do, and you'd be surprised how people will buy from you and/or send referrals your way.
You may want to consider adding some of the following to your marketing arsenal:
- Autoresponder (for mailing lists, newsletters, and special reports; you may also want to use audio enabled e-mail; and/or video enabled e-mail
- Send real greeting cards via the Internet. You can create a personalized greeting card over the Internet in less than 60 seconds. The company's back office prints the cards out, stuffs it in an envelope, and sends it off to the recipient via the United States Postal Service
- Telephone/virtual assistant/fax -- also called a unified messaging system.
- When meeting face-to-face, give the person a small bag of candy. Keep a steady supply chocolates and other candies. They are available at discount prices.
- You may want to also consider video blogging, and broadcasting, and maybe even podcasting and teleseminars.
- A lot of my clients, family, and friends like to burn scented candles, so I became a "Candle of the Month" subscriber as candles make great gifts.
If you'd like to know my specific recommendations for the products and services described above, just contact me.
I've had people buy from me because I am pleasantly tenacious in my follow-up. You have to show people that you are really interested in them, and that you believe in your product/service. It is very, very important that during the follow-up, "courting" process, you develop a relationship. People are more likely to do business with people that they know, like, and trust.
Always remember that new customers are the life blood of any business, and the best way to get new customers is through the referrals of other satisfied customers.
Take care of your customers, and they will take care of you.
- Ivan Misner, Founder and Chairman of Business Network International (BNI)
"Appreciation beats self-promotion any day of the week."
- Kody Bateman, Founder and CEO of Send Out Cards, Inc.
"We shower our customers with attention. There is no doubt in my mind that our philosophy can be applied to selling just about anything - from aircraft engines to beanbags."
- Jack Mitchell, CEO Mitchells/Richards, author of Hug Your Customers®
I hope this helps.