Attending local networking events helps drive clients to your door, literally and virtually? These official events have helped my business grow and prosper. Finding the perfect networking event that suits your business just isn’t that easy or convenient enough to always match your schedule.
I have another suggestion. One that you can adjust to meet your schedule, without the stress or high pressure you are put under at those formal events.
I call this strategy - Personalized Networking Events.
• I create a list of businesses that might benefit from my services
• After researching them and deciding just how I can help improve their lives, I stop by unannounced, or even better write them a letter.
• I introduce myself and briefly touch on a few details of how they would benefit from using my service. I give them a business card and schedule a follow up business meeting.
• At the follow up meeting I present an outline of solutions that I think would interest them and talk further on the challenges of running their business.
Most of my meetings take place in a virtual environment and we rarely meet face to face. But we do communicate by phone, skype, email and message boards. It has become a very personal and quick way of doing business, which more and more people are choosing. The savings in time alone are tremendous and of course the expenses are kept down to a bare minimum.
First: Do your research and don’t forget to check these people out in Google News articles. Their company may have been featured or received an award or had some noteworthy event that has been reported recently. Company websites offer a wealth of information and conversation topics.
Second: Save your notes and carry them with you. The Evernote App is fantastic for this. You can have links to the website and have contact information and your notes at your fingertips. If you don’t have a smartphone then use a notebook or a daytimer.
Third: Find a reason to contact them. Share some interesting information or a news article that you feel would be useful to them. Your aim is to make a personal connection with these people and establish a good rapport.
You may find that, this personable, relaxed approach to networking is more to your liking. I enjoy it immensely and have been rewarded with several new and long-term clients.
A Working Lunch,
By Wendy Works
A business lunch can be a powerful tool when it comes to capturing the loyalty of new and potential clients. Don’t be afraid of it. If you are not used to this type of venue, then you can quickly master the tips and tricks of hosting and you can own the lunch.
1. Be ultra-organized. E-mail all invitations and confirm the guest list. Make sure that you mention that reservations have been made for a specific number of people, that way nobody will include any friends, family or even worse their legal advisers. Let everyone know who will be attending along with their profiles.
2. Check out the restaurant reviews online and also get opinions from people you know who have been there. If possible make a visit at lunch time and see how quickly people are being served; is there a preferred seating that would complement your meeting; does the menu offer vegetarian dishes. Ask the restaurant for suggestions from the menu and any specials they may wish to offer.
3. Dress in conservative business attire. Leave your phone on until everyone has arrived then make a show of turning it off and hopefully everyone will follow your lead. If there are more than two people meeting for the first time ask everyone to introduce themselves. Sometimes name cards on the table can be quite helpful.
4. Never be rude to the restaurant staff (repeat 3 times). Being rude can be a real deal breaker. A business lunch can show more about a person’s character flaws and strengths in only one hour than a hundred emails. Things like: How they handle poor service; are they drinking too much alcohol; do they have bad table manners (talking with their mouth full of food); or inappropriate conversation topics.
5. Learn some formal etiquette. Which water glass is yours? Which Bread plate? Remember BMW it isn’t just a great car it also is a great way of remembering the correct order of the table. B is for bread (on your left) M is for meal plate (in front of you) and W is for water (on your right). Forks and knives? Just work from the outside in for each course and dessert utensils are laid out at the top of your plate. Napkin should be folded in your lap.
6. Always pay with a credit card. If you pull out cash then it might start an avalanche of people chipping in for the meal. You could make arrangements a head of time or slip your credit card to the server during the meal.
Keep lunch to a minimum of two hours and then stand up and thank everyone for attending. Make sure when you get back to the office that you send a nice thank you note to everyone who was kind enough to attend.
Business lunches are extremely important. It is one of the benefits of working in the city where you can meet everyone for lunch, but try to keep the cost down and the conversation flowing.
A Virtual Assistant can strengthen a team by enhancing communication, in a practical manner, between project managers and the members of their team. They utilize an online network to become part of the team, either based locally or over long distances.
In the past, using instant messaging, emails, skype and web pages to keep the flow of information going back and forth between team members was a good idea. However, omissions can be made and some key people might miss out on important information, or busy schedules may prevent some people from sharing their information. One of the best ways to improve and streamline communication is by drafting an e-newsletter and distributing it on a regular basis, be it weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
It can be quite the challenge to find enough time to create a newsletter, but project managers don't have to do it alone. The most time efficient and cost effective manner is to break the job up into smaller pieces; host a brainstorming session; assign segments of work among team members; and then use a virtual Assistant to format and distribute the e-newsletter.
A stronger team has been born. Everyone is up to date on the latest project information without having to spend their time drafting newsletters, writing emails or sending memos back and forth to each other. Instead they send regular updates to the VA who in-turn creates the next issue of the e-newsletter.