In this current business environment, things have changed. A lot of networking has gone virtual, meaning we are attending lots of Zoom meetings. I've kept up with most of my regular groups and I've added a few new ones where I've met some great people. In the new ones, I've started to build credibility and have some one-on-ones.
Many people are starting to not show up as often, though. It's caused by Zoom fatigue and it's real. Meeting online increases our cognitive load because we need to focus harder than in a live event. We have to pay attention to multiple people to get the most out of the meeting. You don't get the physical signals you do when you're meeting in person. It eats up a lot of conscious capacity to sit there and look at a screen of multiple people at the same time.
Tack on watching a puppy and you have a recipe for disaster. At least for me. I'm constantly having to get up, let her go out, check what she's chewing. Even without being tethered to a camera and a mic, it's a challenge if you have a puppy, kids homeschooling, or if you have the phone ringing while your email is pinging client needs, it's tough.
Could You Introduce Me To…
One of the groups I joined meets weekly and is filled with new people whom I've started to get to know. Some of them have asked, “Hey, let's do a one-on-one.” One of these new people actually showed me a spreadsheet where he went through my contacts in LinkedIn and highlighted all the people that he wanted me to introduce him to.
That's the equivalent of warm, cold calling because I have no idea if they need what he's selling. I don't want to be the guy that wastes my current contacts time by introducing somebody who's going to go in and sell them something that they may not want. Plus, I don't know how this person sells and I certainly have never worked with him. So I don't know if he's going to deliver on his promises. It's really not worth me putting my reputation on the line to make those introductions. It's taken years in some cases to build trust, and that could be derailed with one simple yet wrong introduction.
I'm certainly not against making introductions if a client of mine or somebody I know expresses interest that they're looking for something specific. I'd be happy to make an introduction but just giving somebody an introduction to say, “Hey, you may not know this person but they may have something you need,” is something that I'm not comfortable with.
You have to spend some time when you try these new networking groups to build trust. There might be a good connection for some of those people and vice versa. You shouldn't go in expecting them to give you introductions to people that may not need what you have. You should, however, spend some time getting to know people before you start introducing them. Because it could be a fast and a bad way to burn bridges and the trust you've worked hard to earn with your friends and clients.
What we all should be working on is maximizing our current Golden Rolodex and contacts. I believe there are four types of people you should positively be marketing to. These include your current clients, your past clients, prospects, and vendors, (which are all too often forgotten).
Let's start with your current clients. Just because they're working with you does not mean you should stop marketing to them. It could be that you have some new offerings for them or maybe you've learned some new tools or techniques. An example of this is, I just finished writing my latest book, I packaged up my book and sent it to every client I have. There are some new ideas in there that might spark some interest in other services I can provide or it might give them an idea of ways that I can better help them. It may also show them how to make the most of the services I already provide.
Another thing you can do with your current clients is make connections for them. If you feel like you have somebody who could use their services, you could always call up and say, “Hey, I've got a current client, do you think this person's product or service might be something that you could use?” If they say, “Yes,” then you could make a connection between the two of them.
The next one is past clients. Now we tend to neglect them. They used to buy from us and they've gone away but we need to make them aware that we're still here. Also, we have to make them aware of what we're currently doing. Chances are we may be doing something different or something new that could serve them better.
There are likely some of your past clients who have changed jobs. So they may not need what you do currently but they may know somebody who does. The other thing is, they liked working with you in the past, so, maybe they might refer you to somebody who could use your services. It pays to reach out to them and stay in front of them.
The next thing is they may not be aware of how your business has changed and you may not be aware of how theirs has changed, too. It's a good idea to connect up with past clients and say, “Hey, what's up? What are you doing lately? Is there any way I can help you?” Then you may have the chance to explain what's new and see if there's any fit or any good connections you could share.
The next one, (which is what most people focus their sales and marketing on) is prospects. Salespeople are always trying to dig up that next sale. If you are marketing to prospects, you have to educate them before you can sell them. They may not be in a position to buy from you now but if they're aware of what you do and how you do it, they may be in the future. Good marketing will educate them about how your business can help them become more successful. What value do you add? What services may they be under-utilizing that you can provide for them cheaper, better, faster, or whatever their pain point is?
To start a conversation, you need to let them know how to find value in what you provide. How will they benefit from what you do? The key is letting your prospects know your competitive advantages by educating them through blogs, podcasts, webinars, or even simple graphics.
The last group that we have to continue marketing to is vendors. They could be current vendors or past vendors. One of the effects in this current business environment is, if your business has changed, chances are their business has changed, too. You should reach out to find out what they're up to and maybe what new services they are offering. It's good to connect up and have mutually beneficial conversations.
The bottom line is that if they help you sell their services by introducing you to somebody, it could be a win-win for both. You may also be able to connect them up with an opportunity. There have been multiple times where somebody's called me and said, “Hey, I think I need your services.” where I replied, “You know, I think you'd be better served if you went directly to my vendor. Here's their info.” All I can say is that they were grateful and the vendor was grateful, too.
There are many new opportunities to create business. While you're at it, don't forget about the Law of Reciprocity. If you help someone connect with new business, they may reciprocate with a lead for you.
I will continue to go to as many Zoom meetings as I can. I'll try to meet new people but I'll be very patient in the way that I approach this. Most of the time, it can take a year or two to generate the right connections that help generate new business. Keep in mind that relationships are the currency of business. You have to nurture them, you have to grow them, and you have to spend time on them. But you also have to be aware that connections can be tender. Make sure you're utilizing and spending time with your connections very wisely.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the four people you should positively be marketing to. Are these tips making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
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