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The New “Normal” in Business Networking

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Yes, networking is and has always been the way to grow your business. Business owners, salespeople, MLM representatives, independent contractors, and more have depended on one way or another on Networking group or referral groups. Today, these groups are having to go to online zoom or similar meetings that will eventually become a comfortable way of reaching out for new contacts and referrals.


This new way of networking requires a little more organization and respect for your fellow networkers. I must remind you that there is nothing more important than networking and that the quality of your opening statement must create interest. Having said this, it is important to adjust your pitch to respectfully follow the rules of your online networking group.


Here are a couple of tips to be invited to join an online networking event again.


  • Be on time and stay throughout the online networking event. If you want others to hear about what you do and get referrals, you need to the same for the other participants. I have seen participants who join long enough to drop in their business information and then leave. Later they complain they do not receive any leads. Nobody wants to help a self-serving individual who is no willing to invest equally in the group’s success.


  • Be clear about your objective during your turn to speak. Example: I am looking for new customers who are looking for a solution to cover their burial expenses. Or, I am looking for new mothers that want to make money while staying at home. Your objective doesn’t have to be always the same. It may vary from week to week depending on what you are working on. Don’t be afraid to express your needs if more that one in a timely way. For example, I am looking for new customers to try my new product and would be willing to answer a short survey about it. Or, I’m looking for people that need a great website manager with experience in Digital Design. No matter what your need is if you are clear about what you are looking for then your fellow networkers can work more diligently on looking for a qualified lead for you.


  • Respect the time that has been allocated for you to speak. If it is 30 seconds or 3 minutes, make sure that you practice what you are going to say. Keep it short, simple, and direct to the point. These meetings can last way too long if everyone decides to ignore the rules. Respectfully stay on topic to ensure maximum exposure and results. Speak loud and clear. If you are not going to show your face at least create a visual of your logo to display in lu of your picture.


  • Prepare yourself to get the most out of your network meeting. If there is a list of your network event with all the participants, make sure that you print it with time. Enclose a couple of pages so you can take notes. Have a couple of pens and pencils and even post-it notes to make notes on your and other fellow networkers. You want to pay attention to what they do and what they need so you are ready to help if you are able. Remember that helping others will expand your networking circle and they will most likely make sure to keep you in mind to help you back.


  • Follow up. Every person that is networking with you is an important part of your investment in growing your business. A quick email will help you start a relationship with others in your group and keep you in mind as they go through their week. You never know when will they meet the right lead for your business.


  • Be Consistent. If you are trying a new networking group, it is important to be consistent. Like everything, the more you do it, the better the results will be. If you are judging a networking group based on your first meeting then you will be changing groups every week or month and get nothing out of it. You must create a strong presence to have strong results. You must give to receive.


  • Qualify your leads… Let me be clear. Giving someone a name, just to give a name is low. You must do a little work. Call the person, verify you met someone that could help them with (fill in the blank), and if they are still looking for (fill in the blank) you are going pass their information to (fill in the blank). Then you call your fellow networker and let them know that you have a lead for what they are looking for and you have taken the time to let them know that (your fellow networker) will call them this week. Do you see it? You have now qualified the lead you are sharing so when your friend receives a call they will not be surprised and feel you have used them and knows exactly who to expect the call from.


  • Call your lead promptly. Nothing worse than giving a qualified lead to someone who does not follow up. Not only have you taken the time off your busy schedule to qualify the lead before giving it to someone, but then you find out they didn’t bother to follow up and three weeks later your friend tells you they never got a call. Well...it works both ways. Don’t expect to get a second lead from the same person if you do not act diligently with the first lead. Don’t burn your bridge because sooner or later you will get a bad reputation and will stop getting leads altogether.


  • Finally, know where your leads come from. It is important to know where are they coming from, but also who to give credit to. A thank you note will suffice. A call is even nicer. But most importantly, you want to keep the person that gave you the lead in mind so you can return the favor when you can. Also, remember that if he gave you a good lead, he might give you another, and then another.


Yes, things might be different now, but with a little planning, adjusting, and follow-up, you can continue to grow your business and be successful. Embrace the new reality and focus on success.


Jen



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