Find Prospects Through Networking

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Write On’s Guided Goals

In my last column I talked about the importance of defining your ideal client. Once you know who – or what companies – you would like to pursue, put yourself in a position to meet new people. Plus, take the time to reconnect with old contacts.

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Here’s what I recommend.

 

  1. Find Where Prospects Hang Out

This means find possible connections on and offline. Check out LinkedIn and Facebook groups relevant to your industry. Also ask peers for recommendations.

Once you find the online groups, be active without being self-promotional. This means add value: share information (showcasing your expertise), answer questions and reply to comment threads. You never know when you will strike up a conversation with someone who could be a potential client down the line.

While you are at it, do a Google or Meetup search for local events. This is something else you can ask your trusted allies about.

 

  1. Set up a Networking Schedule

I typically recommend having a minimum of one networking experience a week, which gives you four a month. These do not all have to be mix and mingle networking situations, but at least one of them should be.

Divide them this way: one mixer, one networking lunch or coffee and one workshop or other continuing education event a month. The fourth can any of the above … or just take a break.

 

  1. Check in with Old Connections

The same way you put yourself on an IRL (in real life) networking schedule, create one for keeping in touch.

Schedule a 15-minute appointment with yourself at least once a week, to jot notes to people with whom you have lost touch. (You can even spend your first 15-minute session making a list of such people.)

You can reply to or comment on a milestone, new job or promotion, as listed on Facebook or LinkedIn. Or simply send a short IM or email: “Hi PERSON. Been ages. How’s everything going? Fill me in on what you’ve been up to when you have a chance.”

Remember, this isn’t about what you need. It’s putting yourself back in the minds of others. Sometimes the simple reminder that you exist is enough of a nudge for someone to point you in the direction of a new lead.

The more you meet new people and reconnect with friends and peers, the more likely you will be led to prospects that meet your “ideal client” needs.

EckerlingDebra Eckerling is the founder of WriteOnOnline.com, a website and community for writers, and author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog. A Project Catalyst, Debra works with individuals and small businesses to strategize, set goals, and manage their projects.

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