Generate Business from Your Existing Network: A Free Webinar

In this free webinar, Brian Pesin, Marketing Manager from Contactually will share a four step framework to help you stay top-of-mind with your network.

The people in your network are your business’s greatest assets when it comes to generating referrals and repeat business. After all, studies show that 72% of your clients will give you a referral if you stay in touch with them, making your address book a goldmine of opportunities.

What’s the best way to stay relevant with the people in your network? You must follow up with those people consistently and in a meaningful way. However, we can’t rely solely on our own brains to follow up regularly. When this happens and you don’t stay top of mind, you miss out on both revenue and referral opportunities.

In this free webinar, Brian Pesin, Marketing Manager from Contactually will teach you:

  • A four step framework to help you stay top-of-mind and relevant with your network
  • How to excel at sending timely and personal follow-up messages to your most important contacts
  • Which online tools to use to make the follow-up process easy and automatic
  • A bonus tool to get in touch with LinkedIn leads for free
  • And much, much more.

The webinar will be broadcast on Wednesday, June 11, at 2p.m. EDT. Reserve your spot today — sign up here.

5 Tips for a Productive Conference

Conferences are often seen as a fun excuse to get out of the office, but they can also be a great way to network and form new relationships. Maximize your conference experience by following these guidelines.

Attending  a conference is a great way to build your professional network while also having a lot of fun in the process. The benefits of attending a conference can be numerous as long as you make the necessary preparations. Showing up to a conference unprepared will not only damage the reputation of the company you are representing, but it can also lead to some pretty awkward interactions with your fellow conference-goers.

As a regular conference-goer, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the most out of conferences:

1. Pre-Network

Conference preparation should start at least a month or two before the conference begins. The best way to spend this time is to start making connections with other people who are going to be attending the conference.

Some smart ways to prepare include joining forums, reading blog articles and searching social media for anyone who has already begun talking about the conference.  If you find someone you’d like to connect with while at the conference, then send them a friendly email introducing yourself and asking if they would like to meet up for coffee or a beer while at the conference.

It’s also important to try to schedule one or two meetings for each day of the conference before you arrive. These meetings are great for networking because the introductions have already been made so you can skip the awkward pleasantries and move right into forming a relationship.

2. Pre-Stock

Pre-stocking on things like business cards and pens before a conference might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people run out of these things.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone on the second or third day of a conference and gotten the “I thought 100 cards was enough, but I guess not” spiel.

As a rule of thumb, bring at least 250 business cards to every conference. It is also important not to wait until the week before the conference to order extras as they might not arrive in time.

Lastly, make sure to stash business cards and pens in all of your bags and jackets so you’re prepared even while you’re traveling. I’ve even been known to keep some in my gym shorts pockets if I plan on using the hotel gym!

3. Rehearse

You’ll hear a lot of people talk about “perfecting your elevator pitch” before attending conferences. Basically what this means is that you should be able to explain what you do and what you’re looking to get out of the conference in 30 seconds.

However, in my experience you hardly ever have a full 30 seconds, so a 10 to 15 second pitch may be more realistic. Avoid using jargon and get to the point quickly so that the conversation can progress from there. Can you think of anything worse than getting stuck in a conversation with someone who rambles on while you’re trying to work a room?

4. Develop an Attack Plan

If you want to maximize your conference experience, it is imperative that you use your time wisely. Although keynotes and seminars are a main focus of conferences, sometimes it is better to forgo some of them in order to do more networking.

Familiarize yourself with the speaking agenda and research whether or not the speeches will be filmed. At many conferences, the speeches are filmed and posted online later for attendees and others in the industry to view. If this is the case, I suggest spending 80% of your time networking and only 20% attending seminars.

If the keynotes are not filmed, try to split up the sessions between you and your colleagues. Take notes during the presentations and share them with each other afterwards. Covering as much ground as possible is the best way to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck.

5. Take Notes

One of the most difficult things about conferences is remembering all of the people you meet. I usually end up with a couple hundred business cards after conferences and can hardly remember anyone’s face, let alone what they do.

To alleviate this problem, always carry a pen and jot down notes on the business cards you receive. This not only will help you to recall your conversation with someone, but it also serves as a great way to kick off a follow-up conversation after the conference is over.

If you have any conference tips that you would like to share, share them in the comments section below!

How to Build Your Network

Back in the day, you could build your network through actual, physical networking with like-minded industry professionals and potential clients. Then along came the Internet, and now networking has taken on a whole new meaning.

Even if you’re the owner of a local deli or dry cleaning company, your network has the potential of going global. But not every small business needs to spend the money or time it takes to build a global online network.

Here is a checklist for determining if you should build your network online, offline, or have one foot firmly planted in both worlds. Continue reading “How to Build Your Network”