The Joy of Digital Networking
Pre-pandemic Networking Model
In the “before times”, we had it easy. We could attend multiple events each week, get a free drink ticket and wait for random people to wander by and ask, “What do YOU do for a living?”
Once the pandemic hit, the in-person events disappeared. They are not coming back.
What we need in our quest for prospects and referral contacts is a new model for networking, a digital model. It is going to require focus, as well as intention. And it will be anything but random.
New Networking Model
Success leaves clues. Begin building your new model by exploring your existing model. I coach my clients to open their phone, scroll until you discover your best client, the one who makes you exclaim, “I wish I had 10 more like you!”
Place their name at the top of a blank sheet of paper, (don’t forget to date it). List the most important attributes that make them your best client, including: decision maker, easy to work with, reasonable deadlines, and loyal to your brand. (Consider making a call to thank them.)
Choose the attributes that make the most sense to your organization. Turn your list into a checklist of who you serve best. Don’t wait for a random encounter, go find these amazing people. The best sources include LinkedIn, starting with your network, then performing an advanced search. Another great source is your association's member directory, particularly if you are looking for referral partners.
Add these special people to your contact database (CRM) so you can keep track of your activities and progress. What you are doing is building a list of targeted leads instead of building a collection of business cards, (Rubber band syndrome). Now you are ready to proceed with your sales process by building a relationship on trust and fit.
With less opportunity for random encounters, we need to network with intention. Getting to know someone in virtual mode takes longer. Invest the appropriate amount of time with the right people.
Network with intention. Choose your next client.