The coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the way we conduct business, especially when it comes to sales. We’ve all had to get creative about how we build meaningful connections and establish or maintain business relationships virtually. Until in-person meetings return to full capacity (which likely won’t be any time soon), most of our efforts will need to be done via screens. But don’t worry. It’s entirely possible to network in the time of COVID. And we’ve put together some ideas on how to get it done:
Have a “help first” attitude
Networking is not synonymous with selling, and in fact, a sales pitch right out of the gate can be quite the turn off. Begin your initial interaction by asking questions. Get to know the person you are speaking with. Find out what their pain points are, and ask how you can help them or who you could introduce them to. The good karma will find its way back to you when the time is right.
Reach out to potential connections
LinkedIn was built for this purpose. But to be successful on the platform, it’s wise to include a message with your invitation. Tell them why you are interested in connecting, even if it’s that you work in the same industry, have the same alma mater, or would just like to get to know them better. You can always leverage your mutual connections for an introduction, too.
Take advantage of virtual opportunities
Many businesses and networking groups are hosting morning coffee breaks or virtual happy hours. These events can offer an informal way to get to know each other on a personal level, and have a little fun, too. Additionally, networking groups and Chambers have moved their meetings online to allow their members to continue to connect professionally.
Follow up from virtual conferences
If you’ve attended a virtual conference recently, consider reaching out to the presenters or panelists. While you may not be able to get your hands on an attendees list, most presenters welcome the chance to connect with their audience.
Explore national/regional virtual groups
The internet knows no boundaries. This is an opportunity to network outside of your geographical area. If your business can serve clients remotely or in other locations, this is your chance to meet people you might not have otherwise met.
With many professionals now working from home — along with spouses, roommates, and kids in virtual learning — you may witness (or experience) interruptions, barking dogs and connectivity issues. Show grace. This is a challenging time for all of us, and we need to be understanding and kind to one another.
Keeping your name out there on the networking circuit is an important way to let people get to know you, like you and trust you. Don’t show up once, disappear and expect to get great results from networking.
Donohoo Accounting Services understands the challenges of virtual networking. We’re faced with it, too. We’re here to offer our help and support with any of your financial needs, whether it be tax preparation, COVID-19 relief or saving for college, so you can focus on growing your network. With more than 20 years of experience, we’re your trusted partner in quality accounting and tax support. Contact us at 513-528-3982 or on our website for a free consultation. For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!