How Americans work today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Some workers are completely remote while others employ a hybrid schedule or are fully in-person. This can make building your sales professional network trickier than it has ever been. And it’s not just maintaining your network within the office that is affected; professional events, meetings and sales calls are also a blend of in-person and virtual. This presents a new challenge when it comes to networking.
Your sales professional network in the “new normal”
The savviest reps will be able to adapt and evolve with these changes. While familiar elements of networking have shifted, the opportunities available are still there. Leveraging online opportunities to connect remotely will help you keep growing your network and strengthen current relationships.
“Remote networking for sales does not have to be an intimidating task,” according to Clodura.ai. “In fact, when you look closely, you can draw parallels between winning over a prospect and business networking! Hence, you can play the game that you have already mastered! All you need is the right set of tools and the attitude to match to reach this objective.”
There are multiple actions that sellers can take to embrace remote networking.
Attend/Host virtual events
Even if you are working completely in-person at your office, don’t shy away from attending events virtually. Thanks to advances in technology, these events can offer rich, immersive experiences that nurture networking. Conferences, meet-ups, webinars, and other events are still going strong online. If you see an event that is conducted virtually, don’t hesitate to attend.
If you have a specific type of group that you’d like add to your sales professional network, and you don’t see any relevant events, consider hosting your own remote event. You don’t need to take on a costly endeavor to bring people together online.
Even better, you can expand your professional network beyond limitations caused by in-person events. As Clodura.ai points out, “From digital breakout sessions to live Q&As to webinars, these virtual conclaves will bring everyone together, even if you are worlds apart…Businesses now have the freedom to involve leaders, guests, and participants across continents! Even as a guest, virtual events have made it possible for visitors to break into local or regional sales networks that they may have otherwise missed out on. At the same time, attendees no longer have to worry about scheduling and acquiring travel sanctions and can absorb a wealth of industry-specific knowledge right in the comforts of their home or office!”
Leverage social media
Social media networks, especially LinkedIn, can be an easy way to develop your sales professional network. Once used solely for personal interactions, certain platforms have evolved to provide excellent professional opportunities. And you may be surprised by what these networks offer.
Industry professionals recommend checking out Facebook groups to connect with like-minded professionals, as well as industry-specific Twitter chats. “I’ve always found Twitter chats to be a great B2B networking resource. Matthew Owen, CTO for High Growth Startups, tells Forbes.com. “Every industry has at least one chat with the best and brightest minds available for easy and fun networking. Since the chats tend to be recurring, you can quickly become friends with many people, and this will lead to in-person meetings…”
You can also use social media to strengthen current relationships. Send messages to prospects or current clients, tag them on posted content that may valuable, or comment on their posts. This can make keeping in touch and staying top of mind easier to fit into your schedule.
So, take time to explore different platforms and what they have to offer. This can add a more personalized approach to networking and building your sales professional network. Plus, you can remotely engage with others on social networks and then plan to meet up at future in-person events.
When you can’t meet in-person, video is an excellent way to boost engagement while networking. As Pelpina Tripp tells Forbes.com, “The best way to network remotely? By using video. Video is one of the most simple, and personal ways to connect online. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or energy.”
SalesFuel has multiple articles that share valuable tips for using video for networking, whether it’s via a group Zoom call, an email outreach, just-saying-hello messages, or a virtual happy hour. These suggestions cover best practices, including how to leverage audio, lighting and other elements to your advantage.
Your sales professional network can thrive online and in-person
While remote networking may seem intimidating, shifting your mindset can make a difference. Think of virtual tools, events and networks as more opportunities to seek and nurture relationships. Combined with traditional in-person networking, you can expand your circle of professional relationships even further.
Photo by Los Muertos Crew