ABCs of Referral Marketing – D is for debrief

by Sandra Hart on November 8, 2012 · 0 comments

How many times have you come home from a networking event with piles of business cards? Where do they go? On the desk, in a drawer or maybe they end up in the bin? A few minutes spent debriefing after an event will mean a lot for your effectiveness when networking. It is said that “time is money” but really productive time is money, and being productive means having some decent business systems to handle your networking activity.

There are lots of gadgets for you gadget lovers out there, you can scan cards with all sorts of apps which will put the person in your contacts on your computer or on your phone. Maybe you file the cards alphabetically or by event you attended. I know a few people who put the cards into a freezer bag marked with the date and the name of the event.

Whatever process or system you have doesn’t really matter as long as it works for you. The effectiveness of the system is really about you taking the time to debrief after the event. What I mean by this is to take the cards from the event and take some time to sort through them to decipher any actions you need to take after the event.

You might have promised to schedule a coffee with someone or to invite them to an event. Maybe you promised to send a person you met at the event an interesting article or follow up with them by phone during the week. Perhaps you would like to write a handwritten card to someone to thank them, maybe the person or group who was the host of the event.  You may want to keep some cards handy to pass on to others, there may have been an opportunity for a referral or recommendation of someone’s services.

You can schedule debriefing time into your diary as part of the event so it becomes part of your networking routine. The better you debrief the more productive you will have made your networking time. A word of warning, debriefing is not about collating information and spamming people you meet at networking events. Sending spam to people following an event can have a dramatic effect on your credibility and not in a good way!!

A few minutes of debriefing will make your follow up much more targeted and effective. A few minutes debriefing will help you create networking and referral systems which suit you. We would love to hear more about your systems for debriefing after an event, tell us what works for you!

Sandra Hart
Sandra Hart runs BNI, Irelands leading business referral organisation, she trains and mentors members and leads a team who enable local business people to find new clients and generate new business. She is an expert on the topics of networking, word of mouth marketing and referrals.

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