COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we do business and interact with each other. Some of these changes may be temporary, while others may stick around and become permanent ways in which we work and communicate.
There are many uncertainties right now, but what we do know is that we have to adapt as best we can to the changes that are being presented to us so that we can continue doing our important work and having our businesses grow.
In this month’s blog post, we are going to discuss “How to Navigate Online Networking.” The topics we are going to tackle are:
- How to look professional in a remote setting
- Creating a personal elevator pitch
- How to make new contacts, and the proper way to reach out and connect with them
- Tips for following up effectively
How to Look Professional in a Remote Setting
Now that we are doing more zoom calls than we ever have before, we want to come across in a professional manner.
If you have a specified office area, make sure that the background is clean and neat. Here are some ideas from Country Living that can give you the inspiration you need for a mini home office makeover: https://bit.ly/2FKFHFV
If you don’t have a specified office space or it needs a little makeover, think about investing in a hanging backdrop. These backdrops can be nailed to your wall and can make your space look more professional. You can get them in all different types of backgrounds such as bookshelves, brick walls or even a relaxing beach destination. Below you will find a few examples:
If you’re frequently on Zoom, they also have an option to use one of their stock background images or you can upload your own background image. Here are some directions on how you can do this: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background
Another important piece to looking professional online is having a professional photo of yourself in your Linkedin profile or other social media profiles. If you haven’t invested in getting professional photos done, don’t worry! Just ask a friend or family to snap some pictures while you’re dressed professionally. You can upload the photos to CANVA and play around with the brightness and contrast to make it look the way you want. It’s amazing how great iphone pictures can come out!
Creating a Personal Elevator Pitch
Whether you are talking to a networking group in a zoom meeting or talking to a new contact on Linkedin messenger, it’s important to be able to quickly and succinctly articulate what your business does, who it helps and the benefits it provides.
This is called your personal elevator pitch and having one will help people understand your business better and help them to identify the types of referrals they can send to you.
Your elevator pitch should be clearly stating what it is that you offer as well as the pain point that you are helping your clients to eliminate (example: caregiver overwhelm, healthcare navigation, home care set up, etc). Whenever possible, it should also be time specific so that potential clients/referral sources know approximate time frames to meet the goals. You should also end with how your client will feel after having worked with you. Here is an example:
- (Business Name), _____ will help _____ (specific population) _____ (specific goal) in only _____ (# of days/weeks/months), which will take you from _____ (struggle), to _____ (benefit), all without _____ (pain point).
How To Make New Contacts, And The Proper Way To Reach Out & Connect With Them
In order to make new contacts that will be beneficial to your business, it’s important to take a strategic approach. All of us are busy and you don’t want to waste your time and efforts in making connections that may not result in any benefit to you.
- Identify where the bulk of your referrals are coming from
- What types of organizations or professionals are sending you referrals?
Once you have that information, you can then search for individuals on Linkedin within that niche (Marketing Directors for Long Term Care Facilities, Elder Care Attorneys, etc).
When you come across an individual in your Linkedin search that could be a beneficial connection for you, request to “connect” with them.
But don’t just leave it at that!
Make sure to send them a message as well.
Why is this important?
For two reasons.
The first being that this person may not know you at all. By sending a message, you’re able to introduce yourself and your business so that they now have a reason for why they should connect with you.
The second important reason for this is that you are now cultivating a true relationship with this individual. If they only accept your invite to connect, they are not learning about you, they are not understanding your value and there are no further steps made to work with them. By reaching out directly to them in a message, you are starting a conversation that can help to facilitate a strong working relationship.
Tips For Following Up Effectively
A great way to stay on top of continuing to foster relationships or find new connections, is to block out time each week to networking and social media. For some people, they like blocking 20 minutes each day and for others, they prefer to focus on it once per week.
Have a short list of people that you think could be high referral sources for you and continue to reach out to them by sending them an article you’ve seen or interacting on their posts. By taking a small amount of time each week to nurture these new connections, you will be able to grow them into consistent referral sources for the future.
Lastly, make sure that you are posting consistently so that your connections can be reminded of your value and knowledge. This will help to stay in the forefront of their minds and also facilitate communication.
What are the best tips you have learned in order to Network effectively? Make sure to leave a comment with them in the thread below!