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Whether you’re working with someone on a temporary basis (such as the graphic artist I hired for my logo design), a seasonal basis (like a tax preparer), or a regular basis (your VA that does your weekly blog post and your monthly newsletter), remember that this person is a partner in your business. The first place to look for service providers is in your own networks. Ask people in your networking groups or ask other business owners if they can recommend someone. If that doesn’t net any results, ask your Facebook friends or ask around at church or other places you frequent. Often someone you know will know a service provider. Having a personal recommendation is your best option. (more…)
Every month I will be doing a posting on timely tips and tricks. For the most part, these will be guided by the questions I run across from clients or while networking. In other words, if I have to dig out information, I’ll pass it along instead of having others need to look up the same information.
Scheduling multiple people. Okay — first I have to admit that I didn’t find this on my own. I found it on the blog at barrymoltz.com. Doodle is an easy scheduler. You create a poll, invite participants, and then confirm the date and time that the most people are available. Instead of having multiple emails flying back and forth, you can get all of the information in one place. And it’s free. The only question I have is, “Where was this when I was trying to arrange meetings for multiple professors when I worked at the University of Illinois?”
Emailing multiple people. Every now and then you’ll want to send the same email to more than one person. Some email programs allow you to do this automagically, but Google doesn’t have a “mail merge” button (like Microsoft Access does). However, if you know where to look, Google does have a way to do mail merge. This 8-minute video gives a clear step-by-step how to. (Thank you Anson Alexander).
Limit your reading time. There are quite a few blogs that I follow. I get resourceful and timely productivity tips from Evie Burke at One Insight Closer. As mentioned above, I find useful information at Barry Moltz’s blog. It would be nearly impossible to keep up with the social media industry without reading Social Media Examiner. There are others. But I do not have time to visit all the blogs I read every day. I do spend a few hours a week checking all the postings by using Feedly. It took a bit of organizing to group the information I read into different categories, but now I can take a few minutes to an hour with a cup of coffee and read all of my news or short bits of it.
Comparing email Services. There are many email service providers out there. I have used MailChimp and AWeber, but those are the only ones I have first hand experience with. I found this article from April 2013 (before the MailChimp change) that describes some of the providers.
“E-troducing” people. One way to be known as a person that is a valuable resource is to help connect people. You may often meet someone that you think would be a great client, provider, or power partner for another person (for instance, a realtor and a mortgage broker). I spent some time struggling with the right “formula” for doing email introductions. One day I decided that I was going to write a template for doing introductions, but (as I often do when trying to figure something out) I wondered if someone had already done this. I did a search and found a great article on the Forbes site about email introductions.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Doodle Saves Time (barrymoltz.com)
Create a Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Drive / Docs (YouTube.com)
Comparing email services: Aweber, iContact, ConstantContact, MailChimp, and MadMimi (changetheworldmarketing.com)
How to make the perfect email introduction (forbes.com)
You’ve gone out, you’ve met some new contacts, you’ve collected some business cards. Now what?
Business Card Organization
One of the first things I do is organize any business cards I’ve received. I have an earlier post that goes into business card organization in detail. It’s worth your time to read it.
If you said you were going to get back to someone, do so within a day or two*. If someone expressed interest in your business, send them some more information or a link to your website, (LinkedIn, Facebook page). Last week I talked about keeping notes when you’re meeting people or when people are giving their introductions. This would be a good time to review your notes and contact people.
I have a basic rule in that if I can figure something out in 10 minutes, I’ll gladly send information to someone. Once I was at a networking event and one of the people was commenting on how they were overwhelmed with how to handle business cards. I came home and wrote up an email with links to my two business card organization postings. I’ve also sent e-introductions to people who that I thought could have a mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t ever be afraid to help people out.
Sometimes it’s hard to call someone because you don’t know exactly what to say. There is an article from Freelance Switch that gives some scripts for particular situations. To give credit where credit is due, I did not find this article myself but found out about it in a blog post from Evie Burke at One Insight Closer.
Sometimes you’ll meet people and you’ll want to know more about them or their business. Talk to someone or call or email them to set up a one-on-one. This is a good chance to get to know more about them and their business and for them to get to know more about you and your business.
This is not a time for “selling” but a time to build a relationship. I’m sure most people have stories about meeting with someone who spent 30 minutes trying to “sell” them something that they were not interested in buying. Don’t be that person (please).
As I mentioned last week, listening is one of your most useful networking tools. You might not be a client or a customer for every person that you meet, but you might know a good contact for that person. Every person you meet is not a potential client. But every person you meet might know someone that does need your services. Be professional, polite, and a good resource. And then …
MEET, GREET, REPEAT
- What to do After Networking. Evie Burke (oneinsightcloser.com)
- Building Your Business Through Networking Part 3. Mary Wu (marywuva.com)
- Freelancing 911: Turn Your Business Around with Warm Calls and E-mails. Martha Retallick (freelanceswitch.com)
- Not Just Good for Business — Networking Can Make You Smarter. Jessica Stillman (inc.com)
- Why Smart Marketing is Like a Great First Date. Chris Kocek (entrepreneur.com) (also known as “lessons in marketing from Phil Connors as played by Bill Murray – hey any article containing a clip from Groundhog Day can’t be a complete loss)