We've all heard that networking is a powerful tool to drive business. We've also learned that e-mail marketing can be effective if it's done right. Combining both creates a formula for success. It's imperative to always stay on top of people with as many angles as you can possibly get. Customer service is always key. However, in order to get those customers, you must stay on top of them and make them a priority so that you can give them excellent customer service. Here's a great technique on how to generate new business.
First, we begin with networking. It's absolutely the most important thing you can do at first. Cold e-mails and calls are not as effective as meeting people in person. When someone can attribute a face to a name, they're more likely to respond to you. This is especially the case if you had a great conversation with a lot of laughter and smiles. Those conversations that are enjoyable usually reverberate back into a positive memory of you. When you go out to events, it's very important to meet as many people as you can and try to engage them where you spark their interest with what you have to offer. Networking is not about pitching anyone. It's a horrible idea to try to pitch to people when networking.
Instead, you should consider networking as simply an introduction. You tell them who you are, what your company does and what you do there. Simply leave it at that. Offering anything to them immediately will instantly create a negative vibe which will reverberate when you try making future contact. In fact, when you approach people, you shouldn't be saying "Hi my name is XXXX, I work for XXXXX. We do this, this and that." That's terrible. You're just setting yourself up for disaster. Actually a better conversation introduction would be "Hi, my name is XXXX. What's your name?"
That is an automatic disarmament. People love talking about themselves. The first thing you're doing is opening the door to a casual conversation. Asking for someone's name is important. It shows you care about who they are right away. You're not asking for their title, just their name.
Now when they tell you their name, perhaps you don't want to jump to getting the information you desire just yet. Perhaps talking about the venue you're at is a good way to start. Asking them about their drink if they're holding one. Finding out where they're from. Let them talk about themselves. If they happen to say anything about anything personal, really take note of that in your mind. I recall one guy talked about how he met his wife. Lovely story. You want to remember this so you can bring it up in future conversations.
Once you feel the conversation is comfortable to ask what they do, that's when you go information hunting. This is how you'll know if you're wasting your time or not. If they're wasting your time, then perhaps you might've just made a friend. If they're not, you can continue the conversation by telling them about who you are. Then end it at that. Don't try to sell anything, but merely introduce yourself. After you accomplish that, you may move on or talk about something else.
Now that the day is over and you have all these business cards with notes on the people you talked to, you want to go back and get in touch with them later.
So you've found time to reach out to these people via e-mail. Based on what you learned, you try to include it in your e-mail. You make as many mentions of that conversation to jog their memory as you possibly can. Again, in this e-mail, you're not pitching anything. Pitching will scare them away. You just want to establish a professional relationship with them. You may want to talk about their company and what you can do for them, but otherwise, you should keep the pitch away. Depending on how they respond, you choose how you want to move forward.
Hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts.