How to Meet New Business Contacts During a Pandemic

I do a lot of individual coaching with sales professionals. It's actually one of my favorite ways to spend my time some days.

Many questions come up about targeted introductions, referrals, LinkedIn, and harnessing the power of connection. Regardless of age or tenure, these topics are absolutely top of mind right now.

Without trying to oversimplify a complex topic, do you know if you are already stellar at building trust, credibility and rapport when you meet new people? Do your skills translate to the virtual world that so many of us are experiencing in the pandemic? Do you just click instantly with people you meet?

As we wind down the year, it might be tempting to put this off until January. But, paying attention to your network during the last few weeks of December might be quite beneficial to you. Those you might want to connect with could be taking time off. Their days aren't filled with meetings and Zoom calls. And they might not mind at all taking calls over the holidays, especially if your request comes from a trusted and respected mutual connection.

New Contacts Are Everywhere

As you plan for 2021, here's a short brainstorming list of a few ways you could genuinely increase your business connections. With a little thought, my guess is that you could add another dozen ideas to the list!

  • Call, text or email 5 or 10 people in your LinkedIn network who are well-connected, genuinely like you personally, and understand the work you do. Tell each person you are interested in building your network in 2021, and ask if they could introduce you to at least one person you might click with to discuss your business goals for the new year.

  • Read local magazines or newspaper, and circle or highlight any community member being featured; then take the time to research each name on LinkedIn

  • Read a local magazine or newspaper (even a church bulletin); and then research all the businesses advertising in that publication

  • Attend a virtual event hosted by your library, community college, non-profit, or other local group; and connect with the host or active participants after (my library has a "live" virtual event Tuesday evening, and the replay link will be available too)

  • Attend a virtual event hosted by your college or university; and connect with the host or active participants after

  • Attend a virtual event hosted by an organization or association closely tied with your industry, speciality, or market; and connect with the host or active participants after

  • Make a list of all the outdoor activities you can do in your geography, that lend themself to inviting others - and consider starting simple - maybe inviting someone you don't know, barely know, or know through a close connection to meet up to walk dogs, sit on a patio for a coffee, or something similar

Add your own ideas to the list! Pick one or two and try them. You have nothing to lose.