Networking is not new. It has been around as long as man has been around. It is very likely that there was a guy selling things from his cave and he recommended his friend who had a tent on the beach, and they all got together around a campfire somewhere. However, there is a lot of new technology today, so why not marry some of the old with some of the new and give Social Networking real meaning?

Networking will dramatically improve your bottom line when you do it well, and when you do it consistently. Today we have several great tools that will help you to do networking better than you have ever done it before. When you go out to an event and collect cards the next and most powerful thing that you can do is follow up with the people that you met, but have you noticed that they don’t all answer the phone the next day? It is also impractical to rely entirely on the phone because one just does not have the time to call 40 people within 24 hours. Those leads become cold when they are left too long. Using modern tools can keep those leads interacting with you, and even warm them up before you get them on the phone. It takes 7 – 14 touches to get a sale, so why not start with some social touching? When you finally get together with them, it will make getting a sale so much easier.

Here are 5 tips for modern networking that will rock your world

1. Put all of those contacts that you collected into a CRM (Customer Retention Management) system immediately. Going out networking for two hours was two hours you will never get back. You don’t want to lose that effort now by misplacing these business cards or not productively using them. You need to put them directly into a system. Find something that works for you whether it is Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Salesforce or even something as simple as an old fashioned Rolodex. Whatever you use, it should alert you to complete a task. I personally like Hubspot. Even the free version allows one to put the contact in and set a task to be reminded to call them again in three days if they did not pick up today.

2. Add your contacts to LinkedIn immediately. The one thing that you need to be accepted by a new connection in LinkedIn is their email address. It is usually on their business card. People who go out networking expect a follow-up. They are there for networking and connecting just like you, so go ahead and connect. You are building your social media following and they will see your future posts about your services, so this is a win/win!

3. Connect with people on Facebook. While Facebook is still primarily for making friends, it is becoming more and more common for business owners to use it to reach out to other business owners. Many will use Facebook as their primary online connection tool, and others appreciate the fast response system of Messenger for quick communication.

4. Twitter users are usually more socially savvy than most. It is an excellent idea to build a nice Twitter account and check to see if your new contact is on there. Usually, on their website, there will be a link to their Twitter account if they are an active Twitter user. You can often tell by reading their posts if they are there often. Resharing a Tweet, or making a positive comment can win you a lot of social cred and build your new business relationship.

5. Send a real card. If you want to stand out from the herd, send a card that comes in the mail. Any fool can send an email card, and most fools do. The rest of us send them immediately to junk, but what do you do when a real card comes in the mail? A real card has an open rate of 100%. Some of the most successful people in the world have made a daily habit of sending a few thoughtful, well-written cards to prospects and clients each day. Today there are modern methods available to get the job done faster. Send Out Cards is one of those tools where you can quickly create a unique, customised card and send it to your prospect or client for less than $3 each. I still have the first one that was ever sent to me on the mantle of my fireplace because the sender was wise enough to put my picture on it. I still like him and do business with him to this day.

Once you’ve added your connections into these systems, you can make random posts or automate posts with a purpose using an aggregator like Hootsuite to keep talking about what you do in short statements. You can add quick tips through social media channels, and as they follow you back, you can like, comment on, and share what they say from your smartphone throughout the week. A few weeks of this activity and your cold prospect becomes a warm friend before you even get back together with them in person.

Kerry George is the CEO at the Canadian Imperial Business Network (CIBN), a Canadian Speaker, Author, and business mentor. Kerry can be reached via email at kgeorge@cibnconnect.com or by phone, 403-397-1909.

Kerry George