It can be difficult to meet customers and prospects without in-person networking and trade shows. And there’s no telling when these valuable lead-generating events will resume. In the meantime, virtual networking can help your team establish professional relationships with people looking to buy your products and services. Connect with customers online with these virtual networking tips.
1. Update your digital profiles
With so many people working from home, many are seeking opportunities to connect in meaningful ways. LinkedIn® is a great B2B marketing tool to do just that. To get the most of this networking platform, ensure your company page and employee profiles are up to date. Imprint magnets with employees’ LinkedIn link. Encourage staff to post meaningful content that shows your company as a thought leader in your industry. Reach out to promising contacts and ask for a virtual meeting.
2. Refine your pitch
You’ve probably heard that you have just seven seconds to make a first impression. But according to some research, you may only have one-tenth of a second before people begin to gauge traits such as trustworthiness. Have your team members review and refine their elevator pitch to make every second count. Make sure their take-home points are concise and compelling.
3. Think about appearances
Your personal appearance and surroundings are just as important when meeting virtually as they are in person. Before you make a video call, check to make sure you are framed properly and that the camera is at eye level. Be sure to sit back—the top third of your body should be seen on screen. Help your team make a good impression by providing them with a company-branded dress shirt or polo to ensure a professional look.
4. Focus on body language
Only 7% of communication actually involves spoken words. The rest comes from body language and tone of voice. When speaking on camera, it can be tempting to fidget, look around or view yourself rather than your audience. Remind team members to smile and maintain eye contact with their audience. Ear buds can help drown out background noise so their message comes through loud and clear.
5. Set goals
Define your networking goals beforehand so employees know what you’d like to accomplish. If your goal is education or brand awareness, maybe making a pitch to a group is your objective. If your goal is getting sales leads, you’ll want to meet via a breakout session or gather contact information for a one-on-one call later. Be sure employees are aware of the goals so everyone is working toward the same end.
6. Develop a follow-up plan
After you’ve made a connection, don’t forget to follow up. Call or send an email to any promising prospects within a week after the initial contact to make sure you stay fresh in their minds. Think back to your original conversation and bring up something personal—whether it’s a pain point they’re looking to fix or something more individual, like their love for golf. Go the extra mile by sending something unexpected like a discount coupon or some golf balls.
We hope these virtual networking tips can help you forge connections and create stronger first impressions. Remember that virtual networking requires some thought and planning. These tips will help get your team into a digital groove.