If you are serious about growing your contact base, I have five suggestions.
#1: When you meet someone new be specific about your line of work. Don’t just say “I’m in construction.” Be memorable. Be specific. A better reply would be “I’m the owner of a construction company that specializes in Green Living home.” Give the person you are connecting with some solid info to remember you by. Approach this initial meeting with the though in your mind you are not selling, you are informing.
#2: When you meet someone (at a event etc) and you connect, talk, exchange cards don’t let it end there. The next day (or later that day) send them a short polite email saying something along the lines of “very nice to meet you. Looking forward to chatting with you again.” Keep the connect alive.
#3: You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that order. Period.
#4: This line of thinking is from the book The Referral of a Lifetime (probably one of the best books I’ve ever read on networking).
Most people know more people than they think. The book Referral of a Lifetime takes that and puts it to the test. They challenge everyone to take an hour, go some place private and WRITE. List all the people you know.
Here’s an interesting fact. It is estimated that the average person knows about 250 people. And each of those people knows, in turn, another 250 or so people. This means that for each new person you meet, you gain access to a potential pool of 62,500 people separated from you by just two degrees. That my friends, is networking. Do you know 250 people? Of course you do. Set aside some quiet, uninterrupted time, grab a pad of paper, and write. Write down the name of everyone you know from the babysitter down the street, to past co-workers. Leave no stone unturned. Fellow church goers, old classmates, family members, fellow parents from daycare, and customers of past and present. Write.Them.Down. The power in this activity is to show you truly how much reach you have. And remember; “it’s not just who you know, but who THEY know as well!”
#5: Got your list Good. It’s a bunch isn’t it? Congrats..you now have the beginnings of a database. And I promise as you move forward with this task you will think of even more people to add.
Take this “database” of names and divided them up into “a”, “b”, or “c”s.
Your “A”s are your cheerleaders, your advocates, and most likely to refer you because they know how you conduct yourself in business. These people are a precious commodity. Communicate with these people, stay in touch, send a letter (show A Team letter). Ask these people if they know of anyone who might benefit from your products or services.
B”’s are also valuable contacts in your life, but they might need a bit of education about what you do.
C”s Would be in the “unsure” category, but you’d still like to keep in contact with them.
Take the time to connect with people on your A and B list. Connect with them in person, on social media, and most importantly; tell them “Thank You” for being part of your support system.