Your networking efforts paid off handsomely and now you have a collection of business cards. Now what? What do you do with all the business cards you have?
Some entrepreneurs avoid business card pile-up by entering new contacts into their database in a timely manner. Others let new contacts sit their desks for days, growing in mass and invade precious work space.
As disorganization adds to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, this is the last thing you want to do.
When you do nothing with your new contacts, you forget who you spoke with or why you have their card, the value of the contact is lost and with it possible opportunities.
This happens to all of us at first, but once you know better, you do better.
Getting your contacts organized is the first step in creating a follow-up process that produces consistent revenue.
Whether you hate data entry, or don’t have a CRM, designing a simple process to organize your contacts is possible.
Below is a 5 -step process I use to organize business cards and follow-up with new contacts.
Rank each business card from 1 to 10. (during or immediately after event)
Cards ranked 1-4 are cold leads, there’s little to no connection, or you don’t know how the connection would benefit. Rankings 5-7 are warm leads, there’s opportunity for collaboration or partnership, or they’re a great connection to someone in your network. Business cards ranked 8-10 are hot leads, great potential for ideal strategic partner, and great connection. Ranking your business cards helps to prioritize your follow up. It’s important to connect with everyone who gave you a business card but make sure you contact those with high ranking cards first.
Right a word or phrase to recall the conversation. (during or immediately after event)
This is a common tip because IT WORKS. Write something that will jog your memory when entering notes into your CRM later. Recall information about the conversation as to why you should stay connected. This could be business or personal.
Follow up in 24-48hrs
Send a quick email or voicemail summarizing your encounter and make your request. Your request could be confirming the next step, asking for a one on one, sending useful information and links, making introductions, etc. Be clear about why you’re contacting them and what want.
Discard business cards of those who don’t respond.
After 3 attempts to connect, if there’s no response, recycle the card. As your CRM is premium real estate, storing dead leads can cost extra time and resources. For instance, CRM systems have plans based on features and the amount of contacts you have, and your SEO rating and be negatively impacted based on email open rates. You can decide on the number of attempts and the frequency of touch points before eliminating contacts but do remove them from your contact list if non-responsive. This will save time and money.
Enter contacts & notes in database/CRM
Once you receive a response, add them to your database/ CRM. Add notes and add tags such as warm list, hot list, etc. Following this method will reduce data entry time and build a high quality database of leads.