What systems do you have in place to make your networking work?

We’ve been having this discussion over on The Networking Retreat Facebook group, about what systems and software people use to make the most of their networking.
It strikes me that without a system, people often intend to follow up with people, but then other ‘stuff’ gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. My experience has been that, particularly when you’re actively following up, that it pays to strike whilst the iron is hot. That is to say that the best results I’ve had from following up with people have come when I’ve done it straight away. So I have a system in place to make sure it happens.
As soon as the networking meeting is over, and I have finished off any last one to one meetings, I scan any business cards I have collected straight into Evernote. I use the Premium version of Evernote (and have done for years) which will scan a business card straight into my address book AND automatically find and connect with the person on LinkedIn.
Once that is done, I import the record into my CRM – I personally use and love Capsule and know there are many popular CRMs out there. I make a diary note to do whatever I promised I would do, whether that is to send some information, or put in a ‘phone call at some point.
Really importantly, once I’ve done that for everyone I’ve met I then do the stuff I promised to do.
This sounds so simple but it is the bit where so many people trip up, actually taking the action which takes the conversation forward.
The networking event itself is only the beginning of the conversation. As soon as the person you’ve just met leaves that networking event their real life and business starts to become more important that their memory of what you discussed with them, and that’s not their fault, it’s just life.
I know I’ve said it before, but if you are in business, it is your job to remind people that you exist, and not their job to remember. The systems help me massively as Evernote and Capsule mean I don’t have to remember everything, they do it for me, but it is actually taking the action which results in the momentum, the strengthening of the relationship and, ultimately, in increased sales.
Do you use any different system? Let me know what works for you.

Stefan Thomas runs The Networking Retreat, a 24 hour intensive workshop which can help any business, and any business owner, make more sales from networking. For further information, and to book, visit – http://thenetworkingretreat.co.uk/.

“I implemented one more thing from the Retreat and it has resulted in a new client which gives me a positive ROI within 6 days”
Claire McTernan – Employee to Business Owner

“within two months I went from an average of one client per month from networking, to five clients”
Samantha Rollins, Trinity Accountants