DO YOU ever look at that huge pile of old business cards on your desk and wonder if you’ll ever get round to sorting through them?
When there were just 10 lying around, you thought you could do it in 15 minutes.
Now there are nearly a hundred and you know deep down that you’re never going to go through them, let alone get back in touch with any of the people you met.
Which is a shame really because, at the time, you thought a lot of them could be useful business contacts who could introduce you to new contacts, opportunities and ideas.
You know how new business opportunities often come from loose acquaintances? The kinds of people you see once or twice a year at an exhibition and strike up a conversation with.
If you don’t keep in touch with these people, all that potential for new contacts, opportunities and ideas gets lost.
In this week’s blog we’ll look at a few simple habits you can get into that will make it easy to keep in contact with more of the people you meet in business.
First, we’ll examine how you can quickly capture the details of new contacts to save you the time of typing in their business card contact details.
Then, we’ll see how you can keep in contact over time by connecting with them on LinkedIn.
Finally, we’ll look at a quick way to use LinkedIn as a social CRM system so that you never forget who your contacts are weeks, months or even years down the line.
How to improve your face-to-face networking with LinkedIn
As we’ve mentioned, when you meet new business contacts, the temptation is to shove their business card into a drawer and forget about it.
Unfortunately, that’s a quick way of letting the relationship go cold. To avoid that, here are some simple habits to get into:-
1. Download CardMunch onto your phone
Download the mobile app CardMuch onto your smart phone.
CardMunch lets you capture the contact details directly from a business card by taking a picture of it.
In CardMunch’s case, the photo is uploaded to an admin office were the details are manually keyed in for you and downloaded back onto your phone.
You then simply hit the download arrow (pictured below) and choose the option to add the contact details to your phone’s address book.
This new contact’s details are saved and stored for good. You can now safely bin their business card and stop it cluttering up your desk.
Before you do, it’s time for the second step.
2. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn
CardMunch is owned by LinkedIn. As a result, it syncs with the B2B social network’s data on the 270 million (and growing) people around the world who have signed up for an account.
Assuming it can find your new contact, it gives you the opportunity to connect with them direct from your mobile phone (shown below).
If they accept your connection request, this is one of the fastest ways to open up a permanent channel of communication with your new contact.
Even if they change their email address and move jobs you will still be connected on LinkedIn and be able to send them messages, like and share their content and keep in touch in the many ways LinkedIn offers.
A better option is to leave CardMunch and visit LinkedIn itself (on your phone or laptop).
From there you can send a connection request with a personal message. Remember to mention:-
- Where you just met (if it was a brief meeting they may need a reminder)
- Why you want to keep in touch (if in doubt, explain that you’d like to keep in touch so you can offer help in the future, rather than throwing sales messages at them)
- Any other rapport-building information (take a look at your prospect’s LinkedIn profile to find out more about what they do or who they know. Mentioning the names of mutual contacts is a great way to build rapport. Subject to their privacy settings, you can see this by hitting the ‘Shared’ button in the ‘Connections’ section of a person’s profile, as shown below).
Very importantly, when people accept your connection requests, take a moment to send a message back.
It’s a great opportunity to build on the interaction and give them more information about who you are, what you do, and how you might be able to help them in the future.
This will definitely make you stand out from the crowd and ensure you’re remembered in the future.
It also creates a great foundation for your future LinkedIn marketing activities.
3. Classify your new contact for easy contact in the future
Have you ever looked at your LinkedIn connections and realised you don’t know who most of them are?
This is very common. But the good news is it’s easily avoided.
Near the top of everyone’s profile is a ‘Relationship’ tab. This gives you the option to leave invaluable notes on who your new contacts are, where you met and who introduced you.
This means you’ll never forget who your contacts are.
Finally, apply a ‘tag’ to each of your contacts. What LinkedIn calls ‘tags’ are labels that you can choose to define your contacts, particularly sub-sections.
Once you’ve defined a group of contacts with a tag, you can send a bulk message just to the members of that tag.
Simply go to the ‘Network’ menu at the top of the LinkedIn screen and choose ‘Contacts’.
Then, in the ‘Filter by’ option on the Contacts page, choose ‘Tag’. Hit the ‘Select all’ button and then the ‘Message’ button.
This is a great way to keep in touch with your network and build awareness of you, your products/services and their features/benefits over time.
Action points for keeping track of your contacts
We’ve now seen how quickly and easily you can record your connections’ contact details, how you can open up a channel of communication for the future and how you can remember who your contacts are more easily.
Here’s a reminder of the key points. It’s a great habit to get into so that you’re always expanding your network and building the number of people who know, like and trust you!
1. Upload new business cards to your address book using CardMunch, so that you save huge amounts of time typing in data and don’t miss valuable contact details.
2. Invite as many new contacts to connect on LinkedIn and follow up with a message to welcome them to your network when they accept your connection request.
3. Record how and where you met using the ‘Relationship’ tab and assign your contacts to a tag so you can keep in touch more easily.
Until the next time, happy connecting!