For AFP 2017, I had a new job that was arguably the most unique, arduous, and stressful of my career.Read More
That's how many business cards I collected at the American Marketing Association's Leadership Summit this past weekend.
That's how many people I actually remember connecting with. The odds aren't that great are they?
Here's what to do to make the most out of your conference connections to enrich your professional development and sales funnel.
1. Conquer and divide.
Search through your pockets, wallet, purse/briefcase, etc ... for business cards you stashed away. Then, sort them into two piles: the 'I remember you!' pile and the 'Oops, I forgot' pile.
2. Grow your LinkedIn network.
Take your 'I remember you!' pile and connect with each person on LinkedIn. It's important that you write a personal message when sending a friend request for two reasons. One, you remember them, but they may not remember you. Also, it shows that you engaged with them beyond the typical "Hi, my name is ..." banter and your conversations were meaningful. This sets the stage for longer-lasting and more beneficial relationships.
3. LinkedIn "Creeping."
Who has ever done some Facebook "creeping?" You know, where you go through someone's profile to see what he or she did last weekend, or perhaps what they were doing five years ago?
Don't do that. Instead, take the business cards from the 'Oops, I forgot' pile and look them up on LinkedIn to see if their faces bring back your memory. Connect with the contacts who you vividly remember and personalize your message.
As soon as you make connections on LinkedIn, their posts should show on your feed. Read their articles, view their photos, etc ... and like or comment (when appropriate)! Begin to build their trust and deepen that relationship. They will take notice of your actions and who knows, you may even peek their interest in the news you share as well.
A few months go by and you might even forget you went to a conference. It seems like it was that long ago! Don't let your connections dwindle because of time. Send a note, ask a question or brainstorm ideas! You never know who has the solution to a problem you are having or who might need some business solutions themselves. Be top of mind.
Be genuine. In the modern age, relationships only work if they are genuine. Cut through the clutter of sales techniques, advertising, emails, social media, and more by being sincere. It's human nature to go with our gut feelings and most of the time, it tells us when a person is being honest.
According to Bonfire Marketing's infographic, 91% of consumers said that they are more likely to buy from an authentic brand than from a dishonest brand.
We are our own brands. Be authentic, be genuine.