It happens to all of us! We attend a conference and we are pumped to network — fully armed with a new box of business cards, excited about the all the like-minded business leaders we are about to meet. We meet energetic people who are passionate about land transactions, and start to collect brilliant ideas – and business cards – to bring home like souvenirs. Let’s be real, we are so blown away by the talented associates we meet along the way, we think that there is no way that we will forget that face and the incredible value they provided during the brief interactions. When we get home, the face, value and promised follow-up morphs into a big stack of ambiguity.
We know that our biggest strengths are often our biggest weaknesses and too many outstanding connections is a problem I am happy to tackle! I am taking steps to be more intentional about my networking and more importantly, my follow-up. Join me in my quest to be an intentional networker!
Have a Networking Mission and Goal
Is your mission to build your referral business or to attract talent? Be focused about this mission and then set a goal to achieve this mission. Networking is lead generation and you are already a pro. Determine how many people you want to meet and track this number each day. What we focus on expands!
Identify and Leverage a System
Before heading to any networking event, create your system for follow-up. If a connection is a brief encounter that involves a business card, write a quick note on the back of the card so that you have context for any follow-up or notes that should be added to your database. Leverage an assistant or technology to track your follow-up. Using Evernote or assigning yourself Outlook Tasks are great ways to ensure you do what you say you will do when you return home.
Digitize Your Business Card Collection
The dreaded stack of business cards does not have to be a dread. Technology is your leverage! Check out these tips from PC World on how to digitize business cards. Transfer these contacts to your phone AND your database.
Use Your Database
Your database is not just for clients, it’s for your network too. Add a tag or bucket for RLI Referrals for all of your new connections. Create a monthly touch campaign for your fellow RLI members from afar that includes fun tips about your city, a recap of key takeaways from your last RLI Chapter training or updates about your business. You will be front of mind when one of your contacts has a client interested in your area.
Work Your Calendar
If it’s not on our calendar, it doesn’t exist. This goes for networking too! Before attending any networking event, make a list of the people you want to meet. This could be an actual name or it could be that you wish to connect with someone from a certain state. Leverage the RLI Membership Portal to collect contact information. Then, reach out to these associates ahead of time to schedule a coffee break to connect one on one. Don’t forget, conference events are perfect for meeting new people.
Keep in touch and stay front of mind by connecting with your new contacts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social channels. A “like,” retweet or comment will keep you in the networking game — even from afar. More importantly, engage with your connections through all the benefits being a member of RLI offers you.
There will always be a new opportunity to implement these best practices to help with more intentional networking. Stay connected!
About the author: Holly Priestner, Director of Talent Acquisition at Keller Williams, has never met a stranger, literally. Her enthusiasm for people and their stories enables her to connect people to resources that can make both their professional and personal dreams come true. This is advantageous when recruiting top talent to KWRI, with recruits quickly recognizing that their goals matter to Holly and that she cares about their happiness and success. Attend Holly’s webinar Elevate Your Elevator Pitch hosted by the REALTORS® Land Institute on March 8.