I recently attended the Polka Dot Powerhouse annual conference, aptly titled Celebration. I am still energized by the amazing, talented, inspiring, strong women entrepreneurs I met over two days.
As a VA, I’ve built my business primarily through referrals, and networking has been the source of the members of my tribe. Over seventeen years, I’ve made amazing connections and built a rolodex of contacts for myself and clients. Since I’m not always the right fit for potential clients, I like to give referrals whenever I can and my network gets priority.
We’re too unique to be competition
Networking is primarily about building relationships, getting to know people beyond the products and services they sell. When the connection is strong, it goes deeper and lasts longer. Those people become allies and advocates for your business and referrals start flowing. When the stars align, it’s amazing!
At Celebration, we did an exercise called, “A Dot Like Me.” The emcees pointed out that our similarities run so much deeper than just doing the same type of work. There were coaches, beauty consultants, authors, apparel, travel agents, and virtual assistants. There may be multiple people who have the same business, but it’s their uniqueness that draws their clients to them. It’s those unique qualities that connect people at a deeper level.
A business owner may be looking for a virtual assistant, but when drilling deeper past their task list, they may feel more comfortable with someone who shares a similar hobby or background. It takes time to have those conversations to uncover those similarities, which is why in my Find A VA program, networking groups is one of my recommendations of where to find a VA.
If you’re not already part of a group, ask yourself..
- Where do my ideal clients hang out?
- What hobbies and interests do my potential clients have?
- Is there a group for that?
Networking is sharing knowledge, being of service, helping out a friend, growing relationships, and honing your sales skills. Staying in touch and top of mind is vitally important. It’s also time consuming. A VA can help support your networking goals.
Here are some ways a VA can support your networking goals:
- Establish a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
- Enter business cards into your CRM
- Find and friend contacts on social media
- Draft and send follow up emails or create an intake/follow up system
- Schedule connection appointments and follow ups
- Design materials to bring to events like business cards, handouts, flyers, brochures
- Research organizations and associations for your ideal client
- Brainstorm goals for networking
What is your experience with networking groups? Leave a comment below 👇and let me know what’s worked and what hasn’t.