How Not To Network

I always thought I was a reasonably smart guy until the last two weeks. I have a book that is days away from being in print and available. I’ll have more about that within the next week or so. The real story is what I learned as I began to think of ways to market the book. Here’s the sad and/or dumb story.

Beginning in 1994 I became a franchised sales trainer. At the time, my network was pretty shallow. Over the next thirteen years that network grew by leaps and bounds. I had business cards from clients, people I met at networking functions, chamber of commerce people and bunches of others that crossed my business path. Of course the great majority of these cards had nothing written on them to indicate how I met them and what we might have talked about. Just idle cards sitting in a pack of other cards.

Of course I had hundreds of names in my PDA that were transferred from business cards but still there were many missing in action.

So, about six months ago I’m sitting in my office thinking of ways to market my book and stumble on the idea of reconnecting with many of these people whose friendships I had let lapse. Well, that worked nicely! Everyone enjoyed getting back together and of course they were all willing to spread the word on the book when it became available. So now, we’re up to mid-November and the time comes when I’m assembling email databases which house the names of many, many people who will buy the book and then spread the word.

When I was done with the list I was shocked to find that the number of people on my “clients/business acquaintances/friend” list was well below the volume I had hoped for. And that is the sad lesson of this message. Conservatively, I am missing between two and three hundred names that could have been on this list. Multiply that by the number of people that would have been contacted by the two to three hundred group. I will probably miss anywhere from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars worth of book sales because I didn’t take the time to note who people were and worse yet did not stay in contact with them.

Fifteen to twenty thousand dollars is not a huge amount of money so think of this in terms of your business. How many commission dollars are you walking away from because you lost contact with people you met? Don’t let that happen! Keep business cards, record information either on the card or in your PDA and stay in touch with these people even of it’s nothing more than to say hello on the phone.

The Final Thought: Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can-there will always be a time when you will be grateful you did. Sarah Caldwell


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