No doubt about it, we’re living in a new world… especially when it comes to networking.
We used to be able to just go to a once monthly meeting of our local chapter of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce (or any other of a handful of networking groups) to connect with people.
Now, we are using social media and Zoom for the majority of our networking opportunities. Ironically, while we are connected to more people all over, some of us feel less connected overall.
What works for networking today? While most of your networking may be online these days, the keys are the same for BOTH online AND in-person networking.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, there are some core elements to keep in mind.
After all, reaching the people who can connect you to your best clients, customers and patients is the first step in increasing awareness, education and access to the products, services and solutions that you offer.
First, where should you network? With so many options, all from the comfort of your home office, what is the best use of your time? How do you choose? Consider your primary purpose for networking. Choose with awareness and you will get more from it.
  1. SALES: To meet people who want to buy what you have to offer!
  2. REFERRALS: To meet people who will refer people to you who want to buy what you have to offer! It’s not just whether I am going to hire you. It’s also who I know that I can send your way.
  3. VISIBILITY: The more people see you, the more they remember you (for purchases and referrals). Groups that do social media posting and tagging after their meetings, and as part of their service to members, bring extra value in this way.
  4. IDEAS & INSIGHTS: Our best “aha” moments often come through conversations. When you are talking about reaching and keeping customers/clients/patients, along with all of the other elements of building a business (marketing and sales, time management, money management, customer service), your networking can be even more powerful.
With so many groups meeting online these days, your opportunities to connect with others in all four of these areas can lead to exponential expansion – especially with groups that are a good fit for you. When HCC Member Jeana Watts (TX San Antonio – Alamo Heights Chapter), a Professional Organizer and De-cluttering Expert, was sitting next to an organic gardener and Real Estate Agent, the RE Agent suggested she start visiting Real Estate groups where she could meet the people who could introduce her to their clients. People who are buying, renting and selling homes and office space are either moving in and out of homes and offices. This is the rich vein of potential clients that would fill her pipeline with paying clients who would value and appreciate her services. When one idea leads to relationships that connect you easily with hundreds (or thousands) of people who want what you have, that’s rich!
  1. PURCHASING: With most people in the “room” looking to find customers, you could be the surprise who is sourcing products and/or services that you want. What would happen if you went to a meeting looking for someone who is selling something that you want to buy? Would you start attracting people who are looking to buy what you sell? I have lost count of the number of times I’ve found a product or service thanks to my many connections in the Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
> Is there something you are looking for? Do you know a member who offers it?
Second, top tips for making the most of your time: In a room (or a chat) full of people, how do you connect with others?
  1. ASK QUESTIONS: Instead of start with your pitch, be interested in others. How did you get started doing what you do? Why did you start this particular business? What do you like best about what you do? How would you describe your favorite client/customer/patient?
  2. LISTEN: Instead of waiting to jump in with who you are, what you do, your 5-minute pitch, listen openly to what the other person has to say.
  3. VISUALS / PERSONAL: With Zoom rooms, people see you from the waist up AND they see your background. Dress as you want them to see you (at least on top). Do you want to blend in OR stand out? If you want people to approach you, you may want to stand out rather than blending in. The easiest way is to wear a name badge.
  4. VISUALS / BACKGROUND: Look behind you BEFORE turning on your camera. Can you clean up some clutter? Can you add a simple sign with your company name and/or logo? I love what Candace Mae Gruber does with her background on this video. You don’t even have to turn on the sound. Or look at this background on a bookshelf that I use for an easy solution. Those electronic backgrounds are often distracting when you move and float in-and-out…
  5. USE THE CHAT: If the chat is open, and it makes sense to share, add your website and phone number so people can follow up with you later.
  6. INTERACTION: A good group creates opportunities for easy interaction. Question-and-answer formats help create conversations which lead to ideas, insights and inspiration for everyone.
Last (but not least):
  1. Look people up on your favorite social media and connect there. Mostly, I use Facebook and LinkedIn so I start there. Since the HCC also has profiles on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, I’ll check in there as well periodically.
  2. If someone gave you their email address, send an email with links to your website and socials. Do NOT add someone to your email list unless they have specifically opted in..
Now, stay in AND meet more people. How crazy is that?
Sign up now for our next Global Online Zoominar with Special Guest Jill Lublin or for our Special Event in October!
Holistic Chamber of Commerce. She helps people find holistic approaches to health, life and business, and helps holistic professionals connect with more customers, clients and patients as well as like-minded business support. She is also a Speaker and Author available for online and in-person events. Looking for more support? Call 310-490-6862 (Pacific).
© 2020 Camille Leon, The Holistic Chamber of Commerce