Indie-Be-Ready for Networking

As an indie, you’re making a lot of connections with fellow indies, freelancers, bloggers, and readers. What should you have ready when you meet a potential collaborator or reader?  online or IRL. How are you going to keep track of everyone?  

Use the tips to keep organized, to keep sane, and not miss an opportunity to grow your creative platform. 

Things to have for networking and sales opportunities

Here’s a list of things to take with you to events or have on-hand for impromptu networking opportunities. I’ll discuss how to create them in the future . 

  1. Contact Information — contact cards for IRL and in your email footers and all of your PDFs
  2. A flyer/brochure/postcard printed (a few just to have on you and more if you’re going to an event) & have a PDF version for online contacts
  3. Books to give away or to sell.  
    • If you have written nonfiction books, you can use them to give to potential big clients or to sell. 
    • If you’re going to an event or meeting have at least a few books to give away or to sell.
    • If you’re giving a talk, have as many as you can have on your carry on or your checked suitcase. If you kill it on your talk (and you will!), people will want to buy your book.   
    • If you write fiction and have an opportunity to sell your book, have cards (like postcards with photos of your book) with a QR Code to your eBook and to your paperback. You can also use this as a mini-sales sheet with your contact information, services, backlist of books, and speaking topics.
    • If you are talking to a potential reviewer (say you meet a blogger in a coffee shop or on break during a conference), get their information so that you can send them an eBook or mail them a paper version. Send it as soon as possible. Take the opportunity to solidify your new relationship by mentioning things you talked about or giving them that link to that recipe you had chatted about. Keep in mind that your primary goal should be forging a relationship and your secondary goal is getting the review for this book.
  4. Notebook/note taking on phone/follow-up system (aka a tickler system–I’ll explain more)
  5. Sell sheet (a one-page flyer about book or service; have as a PDF for online communication) or as I previously mentioned, a postcard.

What Info to Collect from a Collaborator 

Doing this with potential readers could be creepy.  Write these things out so you can remember them later. 

  1. Contact info 
  2. Interests
  3. Skills
  4. A little info about them for thoughtful comments in correspondence 

Developing a relationship with a collaborator 

  1. Send an “It was great to meet you” email or call them to go over what you discussed. 
  2. Follow-up on discussed items, as they are finished or by set deadlines.
  3. Check in every once in a while.
  4. If you see something that might be of interest, send it their way.
  5. Do social media shout outs.

Tickler system

If you have trouble remembering your tasks, you need a system that “tickles” you.   There are paper based ways of doing this and computer driven ways of doing this. Bullet Journals have spreads that act as tickler systems.  They are also called reminder systems.

One solution is to get a CRM app, which is a Customer Relationship Management application. It works as a contact information manager, follow-up reminder system (you have to program it, and some have templates for emailing your contacts so that you can email from the app.) There are other ways of setting up tickler systems.  I’ll be explaining this in future posts. 

Things to include

  • Log for contact (when contact was made, summary)
  • Contact info or link to contact info
  • Follow up actions
  • Next steps
  • Way to link to possible projects
  • Added value actions tracking and ideas (I send hashtags to people I know on IG)

Contact Database

A way to organize the information on in your contacts.  

  • Include added value actions
  • Dates (birthday)
  • Thoughtful items (upcoming life events, topics of interest)

After networking event or meeting someone IRL or online 

  1. Enter info into tickler system and contact database
  2. Do follow up contacting ASAP (email or phone call). Log into tickler system (aka, reminder or task list)
  3. Set up next actions in your tickler system
  4. Schedule a time to do relationship maintenance 
  5. Set up a “date” — downtime is a good way to develop relationships. Go for coffee or drinks.  Don’t have to commit to dinner. If you’re not in the same area, use a phone call or email to check in.  Give them updates that are not work related but not too personal. Frequency depends on the person and how much you want to develop closeness (keeping in mind, it’s a two- way street).

Now you’re ready to get out there and network.  So let’s get out there and drum up sales and create opportunities for growth and new projects! Do you have any tips to add? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

If you have an event coming up and need to get ready for that event, contact me for a consultation and personalized solution.

Edited and Updated February 3, 2021

©2020, 2021 Michelle Raab, PhD. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: You may copy up to 50 words without permission, provided that you give attribution, link back to the original post, and do not change the meaning or message.

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