This week I attended a roundtable discussion about networking and the benefits that activity holds for business owners and professionals in general. It was a rousing and lively discussion, with great insight from most of the people in attendance.
As we talked about meeting new people, making business connections and having a plan before every networking meeting, my mind rewound back to the complaints I’ve heard from more than a couple of people who experienced post-meeting chagrin. Because of those past rants, and because of the email professional in me, I felt compelled to remind the attendees of their responsibility to the people they meet.
“When you get business cards and/or a list of contact information at a meeting, PLEASE don’t go back to the office and immediately add those people to your list!” I pleaded. “I’ve heard so often how upset people get when that happens. If you add people to your list without their consent, you are SPAMMING them! Please ASK FIRST!” <end rant>
People stood up and cheered. I was taken aback. I had obviously touched upon a sore spot for many.
Afterwards, I received more than one or two comments of appreciation for my advice. It’s apparent this happens more often than it doesn’t.
So please folks, heed this advice. ASK people if they want to receive your newsletters and email communications BEFORE you add them to your list. That only serves to increase the goodwill that others have towards you and the brand you represent. After all, it’s not about the number of contacts you have in your lists, it’s the quality of relationship you have with each of those contacts. If people are open to and ready for the information you send their way, you have a much better chance of opens and reads and click-throughs. At the end of the day, that is what will lead to increased sales.