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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Business Cards: How to Create a Follow-Up System

Written By: Sydni Craig-Hart | No Comments

How many times have you attended a networking event, had a number of great conversations with ideal prospects, collected a bunch of business cards and never followed up?

Perhaps more times than you’d care to admit.

The bad news: You likely missed out on a number of key opportunities to deepen connections that could lead to an increase in revenue, a joint venture or more visibility for your business.

The good news: You can make the decision TODAY to commit to implementing a system to follow-up on all leads that express an interest in your business, so that you don’t miss out on any future opportunities.

To do so, you simply need to follow my step-by-step system for effective follow-up and prospect conversion:

1. When you register to attend a networking event/conference/seminar and add the appointment to your calendar, add an appointment the following day for one hour where you will email, call or (gasp!) write a handwritten note to follow-up on hot leads! This is so you stop leaving your follow-up to chance, but rather, allow yourself a specific block of time to address this critical marketing task. (NOTE: If you are planning to attend a multi-day event, I recommend blocking out one hour for each day of the event. For example, for a three-day event, you should block out at least three hours for follow-up.)

2. Before you attend a networking event, create a system for yourself so you’ll know how to follow-up with each contact. Perhaps for “hot” leads you place a dot on the front of the card in one corner. And for “warm” leads, you place the dot on the back. Or perhaps you use “X’s” and “O’s.” Whatever works for you is fine. The point is to easily (and quickly) be able to categorize the business cards you receive, which will make follow-up a LOT easier.

3. At the event, as you meet people, take a quick moment between conversations to jot down a note about the person, the conversation or the necessary follow-up. Again, this will make your follow-up easier and quicker.

4. If you meet someone you REALLY want to connect with ASAP at the event, be proactive and schedule a follow-up appointment right there on the spot. (Why wait?) Many entrepreneurs maintain their calendar electronically and will be happy to make the appointment right away. Even those who keep a paper calendar often carry it with them. Scheduling a follow-up session right there, on the spot, will save you both time and effort.

5. When you get home after the event, place the stack of cards front and center on your desk so they’re ready for you to follow-up on the next day.

6. At the designated time the following day, go through the cards one by one; make the phone call/send the email/write the note. (NOTE: It’s preferable to have your Assistant do this for you, which is a HIGH-payoff investment!)

7. Last, but not least, when you’ve completed the necessary follow-up steps, add the individual’s contact information to your database with a note about the steps you took to follow-up.

That is simple, right?

I guarantee if you follow this simple system, you’ll enjoy creating stronger business relationships, consistently attract more opportunities to your business and significantly boost your profits.

Why?

The majority of entrepreneurs simply don’t follow-up. Their lack of diligence is costing them BIG time, and they’re leaving serious money on the table.

You no longer need to choose to be a part of that group. (That’s right…not following up is a CHOICE you’re making!) Instead, switch sides and join the elite group of those who are prompt, diligent and thorough with their follow-up. If you do, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

Give my system a try the next time you attend a networking event, then stop back by here on the blog and let me know how it turned out for you by leaving a comment below. I can’t wait to hear your success story!

Your Action Plan for This Week:

1. Add to your calendar the next event that you are going to attend.

2. Add to your calendar for the day after the event to block out 1 hour for following up (or the appropriate amount of time based on how long the event is).

3. Decide how you will rate your new contacts. What will separate the hot leads’ from warm leads. Determine how you will designate potential referral partners.

4. Create a system for making notations directly after you meet a new contact. You can add the contact to your smart phone and make notes there. Perhaps you can use Evernote. Use whatever system will allow you to keep great notes so that your follow-up will be most effective.

Article written by
Sydni Craig-Hart, The Smart Simple Marketing Coach, is founder of SmartSimpleMarketing.com. Known for her simple, strategic and results-focused approach to marketing, she also has the unique ability to find new profit centers in her client's businesses so they can create more money NOW. Visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com for your FREE kit, "5 Simple Steps to More Clients, More Visibility and More Freedom" and apply for a FREE "Profit Breakthrough" session with Sydni!