All service drives must have a Chief Networking Officer, or CNO; a position most likely filled by the manager. The CNO is the person who handles community-based activities and networking, who works in trying to bring in more customers and prospects. Here are ways of becoming your own Chief Networking Officer:
- Attend two to three networking events each month, and always stay in contact with the people you meet. As a shrewd businessman, you know that networking is important and meeting new people is vital. However, failure to follow up is the biggest mistake often made. While in networking, meeting new people is the right step in creating word-of-mouth business. Meeting them over coffee or lunch later is the second step, to discover and to learn more about them or how you may help them. If you do that, you clear the way for prospective business referrals.
- Get in touch with past business associates by making personal calls at least twice a week. You may be very busy, and thinking of making two phone calls is nearly too much. But always keep in mind; a CNO’s job is to maintain relationships and to create referrals. And that will never happen if you won’t keep in touch.
- Use greetings card and postcards to keep in touch with people the entire year. Doing this on Holidays is not just good, it’s great timing. Send greeting not just on New Years Day and Christmas day, but also on Memorial Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween and even Labor Day when receiving a greetings card is least expected.
- Take extra care of your database. It would be practical and sensible if a CNO acquires a top-flight contact database, with all the greeting cards and phone call we have been discussing, a contact management system (CMS) will help you remain organized. After all, the most valuable part of your business is your contacts. Therefore, guarding it is no effort at all.
- You should always show gratitude to your referral partners. They are not just a previous contact who gives you referrals every now and then. A referral partner is somebody with whom you share a relationship of mutual respect, benefits, and trust. To maintain and to prolong this kind of relationship, make it a point to thank each and every one of them. It’s not just good manners, showing gratification is good to keep the benefits mutual.