During the last 12 months, our company has grown from having 1 client and 1 staff member to 28 clients and 50+ virtual assistants!
It isn’t an easy feat, but amidst all the challenges, I am grateful for how it all turned out. I have my existing clients and colleagues to thank for getting us to where we are now.
In the hope of bringing “freedom” to more advisers and business owners, through the help of virtual assistants in the Philippines, I decided to proactively broaden my network by engaging in various social interactions.
In this article, I am giving you 5 best practices to grow your professional network.
Before I give you the 5 tips, I think it’s important to give you an idea of the kind of business relationship I am interested to get into.
I want to cultivate a client relationship that goes beyond the business and is forward-looking.
I want to know my clients and be able to understand how they need us at a personal level, so as to genuinely provide them with the right support.
The key value I want to ensure is that we make our growth mutual, enduring and progressive.
So far, I am grateful to have the clients we have on board. Other than them being able to resonate with our values, they made the “partnership” more meaningful by sharing their business insights with us.
I’m thrilled that they give us great reviews which encourage people from their personal network to come to us.
I think we probably have been doing things right since we’re welcoming more advisers into our team through referrals – even with very minimal marketing.
The Offshore Experts
The relationships we formed with our clients gave us the opportunity to develop from being a startup, into a business force that is acknowledged for its expertise in providing virtual assistant services for financial and mortgage broking industries.
We endeavour to bring our trademark service to more advisers in the years to come!
With that goal in mind, I have to be more proactive in growing my personal network.
I’m happy to get positive responses with my current practice. And I’m excited to share them all with you!
Here are my 5 tips to grow your professional network!
1. Attend Seminars and Workshops
Whether it’s online or a formal gathering, seminars and workshops are great opportunities to meet people with the same goals and interests as you.
Enrol in seminars and workshops that you’re interested in and make new acquaintances!
You’ll be surrounded by those who are eager to upgrade their current business approach. These professionals are open-minded about options that make better business practice.
But, make clear choices about the events you are attending. You want to be going to events that you are genuinely interested in, and not use it only as a front for networking.
People can tell if you are sincerely interested or if you’re faking it. Doing the latter might backlash and leave negative marks on your reputation.
2. Join the Experts
Associate yourself with the leading personas within the industry you serve. Build a lasting relationship with them, and ensure that it offers mutual benefit.
Surrounding yourself with great people should have an immense influence on you. Soon, you’ll find yourself learning their habits and their successful practices.
Also, give them a chance to learn from you. As soon as they understand you and your business, you’ll find yourself being proactively endorsed or referred by them!
3. Be an active LinkedIn member
I found LinkedIn to be a great platform for building professional connections. I think that it’s a great medium to bridge the gap (caused by distance, or limited physical interactions) between you and your prospect connections.
So, if you don’t have one yet, make sure to build a great LinkedIn profile!
Your LinkedIn account is your online portfolio, so pay close attention to the details you put out. Make sure it’s set to “public” so even those who haven’t signed up can see your account.
Here’s my own profile you can check out -> www.linkedin.com/in/brianjones100
Just like other famous social media (like Facebook or Instagram), LinkedIn features a lot of tools to help you make the most out of your professional connections.
You can post your business insight, share articles and leave comments on posts available on your feed. Make it a habit to interact with others through LinkedIn.
If you are confident that your relationship with others has reached a meaningful stage, leave them a personal recommendation. This way you encourage them to leave you some recommendations for you, which then boost your credibility.
4. Attend social events
Where else can you do most to socialize?
But being socially active isn’t limited to joining parties, promenades or balls. Honestly, I am the type to shy away from dressing up and showing up to cocktails!
Instead of dancing and drinking my way to meet people, I invest my time organizing marathons, doing volunteer work or initiating meetups.
You’ll be surprised at how small the world is that in one way or another, you’re meeting professionals working in the same industry as you!
Make the most out of joining social events by meeting people, talking to them and eventually, exchange contact information.
5. Always be awesome in following up!
You’ve met people here and there. You’ve shaken lots of hands and gotten email addresses a-plenty. What you do next is as important as the first steps!
What truly strikes a chord among the people you meet is your thoughtfulness and recall.
They will feel extra valued if you send them a quick email or a LinkedIn invite after your first meeting.
Let them know that you are pleased to have met them and insinuate your desire to meet them again in the near future.
If you’re running a periodic newsletter, tell them so and add them into your mailing list.
If you are already connected via any social media, interact with them by sharing their articles, commenting or liking their posts.
This would show how you are sincere you are with building relationships with them and will help you ease your way into their professional circle.
Have you tried any of these 5 tips? Which one works best for you? Let me know your thoughts on the comment box!
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