New member to the group? Make yourself stand out. Really.
Many people severely miss new opportunities when new members come into the group. I see a few things happen when new member announcements go out:
- With many members, nothing at all.
- Some members will send the new member a stock standard welcome. Some of these are one liners while others are a bit more detailed and cover the basic services about their company.
- Some new members will send out e-mail blasts to existing members, often bcc’ing them all (not recommended) or even worse, cc’ing them all (highly not recommended!).
Then they wait for the annual meeting which is problematic. First of all because of the missing time between when the member joined and when you might finally get to sit down and talk. Secondly, because not everyone can make it to the meeting every year. Thirdly, even if both parties make it to the meetings they might not have ample time to take care of all of their business if the meeting is full of attendees. They could be busy seeing everyone else.
I have some advice that helps cut through this and stand out, either as a new member to existing members or as an existing member to a new member. Try the following steps:
- Wait a few extra days after the announcement to welcome the new members. Within the first two business days virtually everyone in the group who will send their welcome will have done so. If you wait until the dust clears you will have have much more of their attention than if they have 100 welcome to the group messages on the same one or two business days. And in your message outline points that you think might be of interest for both companies. Tell them you will be forwarding them information.
- Send out a company brochure and pertinent marketing material on the same day or next day after your e-mail. Give them something physical now that will be a powerful reminder. When I was running a freight forwarding company I used to always put in something such as a pen with our company logo – something they will use or at least keep around without discarding.
- After two weeks of being announced call them. Yes, call them. Don’t Skype chat. Don’t e-mail again. Call them. Your agenda for the call is three fold. Introduce yourself. Ask them if they got your brochure. And ask them about the points of working together and how this might work out. Expect the call to be no longer than five minutes from the outset but be prepared for a longer call. And the longer the call the more interested they will be.
Another pointer on the call is to keep it friendly but not too casual. It is a business call. It is a sales call.
Again, this procedure works both ways. Whether you are new to a group and are contacting existing members or whether you are an existing member introducing yourself to a newbie. You’ll get remembered, make incremental headway with your network business pipeline and you will be the first person your new partner will look for at meetings. And that can’t be all that bad.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.