Have you recently attended a networking event and left money on the table? I’m not talking about the money you left on the table as a tip for the waiter or waitress. I’m talking about your failure to have a system on what you were going to do with all those business cards you collected at the networking event.

When you attend a networking event, your intention or goal is to leave with two fists full of business cards. Guess what? That's why everyone else is there too. If you do not have a system in place to follow up with the people you met then what was the purpose of going to the event? Networking effectively and efficiently requires a system. Using my tips below will guarantee that you do not leave money on the table after your next networking event.

1. Immediate action. When you get home from the networking event immediately sit down and look at the business cards you collected and put a face to the card. Try and remember what intrigued you about that person. Jot down notes about the conversation you had and any pain points you can remember. Pain points are the issues that are causing that person grief and you can relieve or know another person that can relieve the pain.

2. Next day action: The day after the networking event you should send a handwritten note or an email to each person you met at the networking event. Do not send one mass chain or spam email. Take time to begin to establish rapport with the person. Mention in your email things that you discussed with that person. Show the person you actually remember who they were. Invite the person to stay in contact with you. Do not try and sell something to the person in this first email exchange. Immediately add the person to your email data base and your newsletter data base. Add the business card to your rolodex. Do not let the business card get lost.

3. Be selective. After your initial introduction email you will want to seriously think about the people you met that you would really like to have as a client and why or who you met that you liked and would like to add to your circle of friends. Now is the time to email an article you have written or an email link that they can use to alleviate one of their pain points. Again this is not the time to sell them something; you are still cultivating the relationship. It is ok not to want to network with someone you met. You need to be true to your values and ethical standards.

4. Cultivate the relationship. Networking and gathering new client leads can follow the same stages of a dating relationship. You would not propose to a person on a first or second date so don’t try and sell someone something on the first or second time of meeting them. Take time to cultivate a true relationship. Periodically, send an email just to say hello and let the person know that you are thinking of them and wishing them success.

5. Use your manners: When you receive an email from someone, be sure you take time to acknowledge the email. Do not ignore anyone that contacts you. This is very rude and people do not do business with rude business owners. People do business with those they like, know, and trust.

I recently attended a networking event where I collected over 21 business cards and brochures. Only one person contacted me. The rest of the people either assumed I didn’t care about makeup, flooring, clean air, office supplies, marketing my business, and advertising on the radio or they had no follow up system in place on what to do with all the business cards they had collected. They left money on the table.

You must have a system in place so you know what you are going to do with all the business cards you have collected at your networking event. Implementing my five steps above into your system will guarantee that you do not get caught leaving money on the table after your next networking event.

Author's Bio: 

Coach Jaynine ensures small business owners and determined individuals turn their Dreams into Reality. She coaches small business owners on the necessary systems and strategies that are needed to turn their business into an asset instead of a liability through the use of assessments, self empowerment, and client specific action steps via the telephone and internet. Her clients increase their productivity and earning power while living life on their terms. Experience what Coaching can do for you by downloading your complimentary Productivity Tracker.