Blog / Remote Networking - Tips for Making Meaningful Connections
Here at Field Group, we had thought the idea of working from home would offer a little more flexibility with our schedules—that we’d enjoy not having to be super dressed up and working from our couches instead of desks. We always thought freelancers had the good life, until we had to start living it.
One of the areas hardest hit in this new age of work is our ability to network and get in front of both new and current clients. Anyone in a sales position knows one-on-one time is crucial to building a relationship, and you can’t really do that while in quarantine. We knew we needed to pivot from our usual course of action and buckle down. Below are three strategic ways we have been able to keep work coming in while working remotely.
Follow Up with Past Clients and Ones Who Fell Through the Cracks
Hopefully you or your business have some way of documenting all your previous clients and the ones you may have reached out to but never got the wheels spinning. If you do, or if you have a dang good memory, the best place to start is by reaching back out to them. These are the people who already know you and will hopefully be the easiest to reconnect with.
Connection and empathy are the two keys here, especially due to the economic times we are in. As you’re approaching these previous relationships, be as genuine as possible. Approach each email or phone call as sincerely wanting to help and provide support, because we’re assuming you do.
Here are a few tips to get going:
- Audit all of your past paying customers and narrow it down to the top 3-5 that will most likely respond and who have the resources to hire you right now. After you’ve reviewed your past paying customers, do the same for companies or organizations who never officially signed on.
- Give each of these customers a phone call if you can. Emails are good too, but you’re more likely to hold their attention and actually have a conversation via phone. The key here isn’t to make this a sales pitch, just ask how they’re doing. Take some notes on the conversation.
- Follow up with a thank you email. If you feel like you can help them, list one or two services you can provide to make their life easier, and ask for a follow up call later in the week to discuss details.
Take the feather duster to your existing platforms and get to work.
Take Your Networking to the Internet
Raise your hand if it’s been a little while since you’ve logged onto your LinkedIn page and you need to brush the cobwebs off. Only us? Well, okay, we’ll admit this is something that we do struggle with. Sometimes we get so busy helping other clients with their pages, we neglect our own. We’re taking the extra time to not just spruce up our LinkedIn pages, but to find different groups and communities across several platforms to engage and interact with people. During this time, or any time you’re having to work from home, connecting with new people is an incredibly hard, daunting task. The internet has provided us the perfect platform to meet new people and create relationships.
This isn’t limited to just LinkedIn. You can find communities of people across all social media platforms and beyond. Join different Facebook groups in your community. If you’re interested in helping nonprofits, find a group for nonprofits. Are you an avid runner or gamer? There are groups out there for you full of people with similar interests. You might just make a real connection with someone in the comments who could use your help.
Here are a few tips to get going:
- Take the feather duster to your existing platforms and get to work. Even on pages that feel personal, like Facebook, start sharing all of the great projects you and your team have been doing⎯repost from your company’s page if possible.
- Find a few groups to start engaging with. The key here is to comment and interact with posts often, but don’t be pushy. If there’s an organic way to offer advice, jump on it and then suggest to the person to take the communication to a different platform such as email.
- Remember, you’re in it for the long game going this route.
Ask for Referrals
Sometimes this simple task feels like the hardest to accomplish because you’re asking someone to use their reputation and relationships to vouch for you. We know⎯scary. However, if your current clients are willing to connect you with some of their contacts and refer your services to them, that means they hold you and your work in high regard. Use this as a confidence booster and as the foundation to start building a new relationship.
Here are a few tips to get you going:
- When asking for a referral, see if your current client is willing to make the initial contact to connect you to their friend or acquaintance. This helps elevate the level of legitimacy your potential client will feel toward meeting you and listening to your pitch.
- Spend time researching this potential client and find two or three key areas you know you can help with. Can you offer them loan services? Do you have an app or software that can help them do their job at a distance? Do you have a tool that their employees of customers can benefit from? This is where you can help.
- Ask for the meeting. Be direct and just ask. They can always turn you down, but with this approach you’re not dancing around the subject and avoid wasting anyone’s time.
Have you already tried any of the above tips? Let us know how it has been going!
How have you been networking in this new age of social distancing?