Busy business people often go out networking, believing it is a great way to market yourself, and win business.
But a significant number then go on to mumble that, while they enjoyed an event, they didn’t gain any business benefit from attending. However, as many networking experts will confirm, the success is often in the follow-up. And if you are not diligent at doing that – or perhaps feel too busy to do so – then maybe it is time to hire a virtual assistant, who will ensure you get more back from your business networking effort.
A virtual assistant can do a number of things to make your networking more effective. Pass them the business cards of those people you spoke to – you can do this physically, or by sending across scans of the cards.
Those cards, plus any notes about what was discussed, or what follow-up was agreed, are gold dust. At the very least, the contact information on the card can be added to a contact database. Perhaps you spoke with someone about a follow-up one to one meeting, in which case your VA can email the other person, and get a date and venue for that meeting confirmed in the diary. Alternatively, if there was no specific follow-up action, then at the very least your virtual assistant can send a “nice to meet you” email, that gets the ball rolling for future contact.
Really diligent networkers write down small details, which may come in handy later. These should ideally be entered in the contact database, otherwise you will forget them. If you know someone has a specific interest, whether that is business or personal, then a great way of keeping in touch is to follow up when that topic appears in a news feed. Use your VA to send the documents or link, whenever something occurs to you. A great way to quickly deal with these, is to send a voicemail whenever an action point comes to mind, and ask your VA to action it for you.
If you are busy, then your VA can also answer emails from the people you met, ensuring a timely response, which can also be noted in a contact database.
Networking contacts may also be great people to follow up with, at key points in the calendar such as Christmas, or when you have a newsletter or other piece of corporate news to share. If you use an email newsletter programme such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact, then your networking contacts can also be added to your circulation lists within such programmes.
Hiring Time Wise VA to help manage the new contacts you make while out networking is just one of many ways to exploit the potential of this flexible support service. The options are pretty much as broad as your imagination!