Speakers, coaches, consultants and business development professionals often network face-to-face at conferences, conventions and trade shows. Yes – in-person meetings and networking is still a thing.
I have grown up in the business world working and interacting directly with people for three decades. I enjoy it, I look forward to it and I still say it’s where the magic happens in relationships. But today, we have two worlds that are learning how to blend, balance and work together: online and offline.
In 10 minutes I can learn more about someone, and they about me, in person than in six months online! The energy that passes between people finding out that they have a hobby, favorite book, peer or life experience in common can be profound. Conversely, it can be expensive, especially if you aren’t prepared. Yes – I am well aware that my automated marketing system can outsell me and it does. I am saying the physical connection has a place. People do business with people.
At live events, how can you improve your chances to make the most of events you attend?
- Know who will be there. Most events publish a list of speakers and presenters. Facebook groups are common for events. Check out who is going and research their value to you, and likewise you to them. This is being smart, not nosy. However, do not go head hunting and do not be an annoying leach.
- Practice your introduction. You should have a Position Statement. This should answer the question of who you are and what you do. However, it should tease the person you are shaking hands with. You want questions that dig deeper. You also want to be shrugged off, you do not have time to waste.
- Relax and be YOU! In many situations, face-to-face networking can feel a bit odd at first. Too many people have a hardcore objective going in. If you go in with an open mind, an open heart, a giving first mentality – that can help immensely. It’s alright to go with the flow. Relax and enjoy yourself. Get out of your comfort circle and expand your horizons. Networking is
fun and full of opportunities.
- Follow up. It is your job to keep in touch with legitimate interests. Anyone that collected your business card is just making you feel good. Not you, business cards you collect can be used to trigger automated marketing before you throw the card away. We love Snap for our Infusionsoft application.
- Snap by Infusionsoft makes it easy to add contacts to Infusionsoft from your smart phone so you can follow up immediately. Snap also eliminates the hassle of manually adding contacts to Infusionsoft. Just take a photo of a business card with your smartphone and Snap will use that data to create a new contact record in Infusionsoft.
Never lose contact information again and stop collecting business cards. Capture first name, last name, phone, email, company, address and notes right from your smartphone—anytime, anywhere.
• Add contacts by taking a picture of a business card
• Or add contacts manually in about a minute
• Makes a contact record directly in Infusionsoft
• Add tags in the Snap app
• Kick-off campaigns from your smartphone
• Human transcription for better accuracy
Install Snap by Infusionsoft and make adding contacts on the go a snap. Each user can scan up to 250 cards each month for free. Available for iOS on the App Store and Android on Google Play in the US.
Here is what separates the rookie from the professional. We’ve discussed being prepared for the in-person meeting at a live event. We’ve talked about my favorite tool for collecting business cards. The features of Snap by Infusionsoft hint at the possibilities. Have your campaign built in Infusionsoft before your event. Have it ready for email delivery and delivery directly to a smart phone using an HTTP Post. When you present your Position Statement, be ready for some Q&A with prepared questions. Have those answers tied to a set of variables, in Infusionsoft we call them decision diamonds tied to sequences. Memorize the tags to trigger a given “thanks for your time response” that is appropriate and feels personal. Use Snap by Infusionsoft, upon return of your scanned card’s data, to trigger that automated email or text message.
No two small businesses are exactly alike. If you use multiple software systems in your business, you’ll find hundreds of integration’s in the Infusionsoft Marketplace. It’s a growing platform of service and technology partners that will help you extend the value of Infusionsoft and streamline your business.
If you haven’t been out and about enough, set some goals this year to reconnect in person in your community, business world or hobbies. Go where you already have commonality and know people. It’s a much easier and faster way to get connected, get personal and make some new friends and connections–and you just might get that job, interview or new customer.
Take it from the pro. “Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are an efficient way to establish initial business relationships, but using them too much can cost you a job”. ~ Gary Vaynerchuk. The same can be said for the reliance on collecting business cards. Handle the exchange correctly and use it for follow-up like a pro.
Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC
by Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer