Building relationships and lead generation starts with making a personal connection.
During these uncertain times, it’s getting harder to build business relationships when everything is being done in a virtual setting. In the affiliate industry particularly, networking events are a major component of new business development and recruitment for developing partnerships that promote and grow your program sales.
Here are some of my best tips of how to get prepared for virtual speed networking ahead of my Digital Marketing Mixer event.
1. Be prepared
Make sure you’re in the networking group, app or facebook community and that you have introduced yourself so that potential delegates can get to know you ahead of the event. Start with a simple post or a virtual business card like the one below to help people get to know who you are, what you do and how they can perhaps work with you.
If you are selling a service or offering a promotion, put it up in the group beforehand. This way, people can engage with you ahead of meeting online.
2. Be camera-ready
Right now, we’re attending more virtual meetings and events than ever before. When networking remotely, the only way to do so is by turning your camera on, making sure that the lighting is good and that your microphone works and is set to deliver at the right level. Test this before you jump on the call, as sight and sound are the only things you have at your disposal to engage fellow delegates. Use Zoom to set a professional-looking background. You could also select a fun theme, which can be a great conversation-starter.
3. Ask questions; don’t try to hard-sell
Speed networking doesn’t necessarily mean that you should try and hard-sell straight away. Before you sell “at” people, they want to connect with you.
Ask a few questions and engage in some small talk before you plug a service or offer to them. You can do this in the community or event app or Facebook group, and also on the day at the event during break out sessions.
Give before you ask. To help you get started, here are a few engaging questions you can use to get a conversation started…
- What made you come to this event today?
- What do you do?
- How did you get into this industry?
- What are you seeing as a challenge right now in your business?
4. Perfect your elevator pitch and talk much more than you normally would
Virtual meetings are never the same as in-person ones. Everyone feels a bit awkward to start with and having a conversation with a total stranger online can be difficult. The trick is to be a bit more social than you would in a normal, real-life situation. You won’t have body language to read or social triggers to process, so you literally just have to get over the stage fright of being on camera and get on with it.
It might feel strange, or even a little uncomfortable, but you really do get what you give in these circumstances. You only have a few minutes to make an impression and build a connection that you can follow up as a lead later one.
Take time to perfect your elevator pitch. You need to be clear about how you can help or serve the people you’re meeting at the event. Everybody is there for the same reasons as you, so relax, have fun and enjoy the experience. After all, that’s what it’s designed to help you do.
5. Keep the conversation flowing & give constructive feedback
If you enjoyed yourself and made some good connections, make sure you follow up with these after the event.
Most conferences and events (including mine) have a platform or community app associated with them. These allow delegates to engage with one another after the main event takes place. Use it to keep conversations going and consider it part of your lead generating arsenal.
Give feedback, too. The only way that events and networking opportunities can improve and add value is if you give them advice on how they can get better.
Excited to join the Digital Marketing Mixer? We’re excited to have you. Now you’ve got a couple of useful speed networking tips under your belt, why not read our top reasons to attend this month’s event?
If you haven’t yet RSVP’d to join us at the Digital Marketing Mixer on the 30th June, you still can by registering here. Attendance at this event is 100% FREE.