There’s a part of networking that many business owners don’t consider or talk about: how to maintain the relationships you make in your global networking.
Meeting connections at events or through cold-call networking is one part, but if you don’t stay connected, you’ll forget about each other and potentially lose business opportunities. Maintaining these relationships doesn’t have to be tiresome or take too much time on your busy calendar.
Here are our top tips for how to maintain your global networking connections in the freight forwarding world:
Start with the follow-up
How many tradeshows and conferences do you attend each year and bring home dozens of business cards that sit in a cabinet and are never looked at again? Remember to send follow-up emails or messages to key connections you meet. Here’s a checklist of things you can do after meeting a new connection:
- Follow them on LinkedIn (their personal and business profiles)
- Follow their company on other social platforms.
- Bookmark their website
- Send them a “great to meet you” email (or if you promised to send them information, do that now)
If you have an assistant, you could have them add your contacts to your CRM or networking database so you can recycle the physical business cards. Ensure they include any notes you want to remember about the client (such as what you’ve chatted about or possible collaborations or business opportunities).
Write notes on business cards and brochures
You’ll likely have many conversations at networking events, and it’ll be challenging to remember what was discussed with each individual. After chatting with a new connection, make notes on their business card or in a private notebook. This will help you remember your promises to them (such as booking a follow-up meeting or sending a product brochure to them after the show).
Then, when you reach out to the connection later as you nurture the relationship, you can reference what was said in your first conversation. This will make you memorable, especially if you’ve written and used what was said.
Prioritize by tiering your connections
If you come home from an event with 200 business cards and brochures, no one expects you to keep in touch with all of them. After you meet with each person or company, tier their importance to you or your business. You could tier them by the urgency of potential business collaborations. For example, draw a star on every business card of whom you want to follow up within 24 hours of returning home from the event. A circle could be people you want to follow on social media but not necessarily make more personalized contact immediately.
Find a system that works for your needs and goals of networking so you can prioritize your contacts and the effort you want to put into staying connected with them.
Engage with connections over social media
Part of maintaining global networking connections is to support them through social media. Whether you’re following their personal accounts or company profiles, make sure to like and share posts that align with your views and interests and authentically comment on their posts too.
If this is a connection you want to do business with one day, you can stay top of mind by being an active social media follower. They’ll keep seeing your personal or business social profiles liking and commenting on their posts. You’ll be remembered when they’re ready to do business or work with you.
Share news with them
Another great way to maintain a business networking connection is to share industry news with them. Don’t spam them with every news item you see about shipping and logistics. But perhaps you find an article that relates to their unique niche or affects them. Share the news as a way to spark conversation and discussion.
For example, the local government may be considering a new bill that could hurt your businesses. Share the article and invite a discussion about your opinions or potential solutions for any issues.
Start a small mastermind group
You may be an active global networker in shipping and logistics, but you’ll probably gravitate to a small group of connections more than the rest. If you find this happens to you, consider if there is value in nurturing the relationship by forming a smaller mastermind group with several key, non-competing individuals.
A mastermind group is a group of professionals who meet regularly to network as a smaller group. This group will also often bring their problems or struggles to the group for discussion and brainstorming to find possible solutions. It’s a collaborative way to engage with others in your industry for mutual benefits and growth.
Where to start your global networking efforts
You need to meet people before you have any global business connections to nurture. Join one of the global freight forwarding networks within the RW Network. You’ll meet others in the industry who want to meet you, collaborate, and form long-term professional relationships for mutual benefit. RW Networks are safe, reliable, and have excellent benefits to help take your logistics business to the next level.
Choose from one of over nine networks based on your specialty or region. As a member, you’ll get additional support and opportunities as you expand your industry network. Attend global networking events and get member benefits, including an exclusive, members-only online platform for members to get to know each other.
To be considered for membership, you must pass a screening process to ensure your company’s financial stability, market reputation, sales strength, and years in operation. This helps ensure the high caliber of our members.
Learn more about membership and submit your application for consideration today.