A couple of years ago I won a bottle of wine at an expo. Yay me!
Do you do this at expos? It’s a great way to build your list and get in touch with people who want to learn more about what you do.
This lady had an expo stand advertising her video business. I chatted with her about the fact that I may be doing some videos in the future and asked her a bunch of questions.
I also mentioned that someone like her could be a great resource for VAs who are looking for this kind of supplier for their clients. She could see that I was interested and that means I could be a potential client for her, or be a good contact to bring in loads of work to her business. Basically, I was a nice warm lead.
So I entered her prize draw for a bottle of red wine – even though I don’t actually drink red wine! What I really wanted was to keep in touch with her. This is the main reason I put my business card in the draw.
Well, lucky me – I won the wine! I was rather pleased to receive the email informing me that I’d won this prize because it meant that I would be able to have a chat to this lady about her biz… and what it can offer me and my VAs in my business.
However, this lady has got it all wrong. When she called me to arrange to drop off the bottle of wine at my house, she made no comment about having a catch up to talk about anything at all. I said to her “oh, don’t you want to catch up and have a chat? Let’s have a cuppa somewhere”.
She was totally unprepared for this. I got the feeling that she just wanted to drop the wine off and get it over and done with. Doesn’t she realise this is a golden opportunity for her to sell her business offerings to me – a captured audience?
She ummed and ahhed and didn’t know what to do! I asked her where her office was and suggested we meet somewhere half way. She suggested a place that she’d been to, but she didn’t know the address of! I googled it while we were chatting and it was miles away from either of us – a totally ridiculous option.
In the end, it was me who suggested my local cafe and a time and a date and we are meeting there in a couple of days. But when I get there, I think I’m just going to have my cuppa and get my bottle of wine. I don’t think I want to do business with someone who has no idea how to follow up or network. Imagine if I recommend her to a client – or to my VA colleagues for their clients and she doesn’t follow up or have a plan?
Of course, I will leave my options open and see what happens at the meeting, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I also don’t think this person would be someone I would recommend to my clients or colleagues.
So the lesson here is don’t waste wonderful opportunities when you are networking! Have a follow up plan. Do a bit of research on the person you are going to meet with – I wonder if she even knows what my business is! Work out what you are going to say. Work out what you need to find out at a meeting so that you can help the potential client.
You never know who they know and even if they don’t need your services, they may just know someone who does.
Happy Networking everyone!