One thing I’ve noticed regarding networking during the pandemic is how people are connecting, or more accurately, not connecting. During more “normal” times, networking had a certain forgiveness built into it. For example, if you went to a networking meeting and met several people, you’d connect with some more than others, and that would feel normal.
What Can You Do if You Need Clients Yesterday?
In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, I shared my thoughts on Appropriate Marketing in a Time of Crisis and What Kind of Marketing is Possible Right Now? The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many self-employed professionals has been substantial. Even if you are able to perform your usual work under safer-at-home rules, your regular clients may not need your services right now. Or, they may simply be unable to pay you.
Meeting new people, in person, is consistently rated as one of the most effective ways to find new prospects for selling your professional services. After attending just a few networking mixers or industry meetings, you will quickly end up with a daunting collection of new contacts. But what do you do with them all?
Remember Why You Are Networking
The whole point of meeting new people is to give you a starting point for developing relationships. New contacts almost never become clients as the result of a one-time meeting.
Established professionals and those who are new in business often have a difference of opinion about going to networking events. Many old-timers in business say that live, in-person networking meetings are one of their most important sources of prospective clients, while the newcomers frequently claim to not see much return from attending these events. It’s the professionals’ length of time in business that seems to influence their view, not their age in years. So, what’s going on here?
True or not true? Asking someone to become your referral partner is scary.
If you said true, you’re not alone.
How scary it is to ask someone to send you referrals depends on your comfort level. The more you practice the better you get, and that’s something you can build on. Even if asking for referrals doesn’t seem to come naturally, you can train yourself to do it comfortably enough — and it might even become fun!