How to be a virtual assistant

9 Things Newbies Need to Know About Networking

By Tanya Kuhrt

So you’ve got yourself booked on your first networking event to promote your new VA business. But what should you expect? Here’s a quick start guide to give you the basics.

 

  1. Research beforehand. If you’ve been invited by a group, look at their website – usually there will be a list of members and what they do. You should have a think about what would be the best businesses for you to connect with and then you can aim to connect with those people first.
  2. Schedule plenty of  time in your diary. Try and arrive at least 5-10 minutes early. Most events have an “open” networking session followed by a more formal sit-down session. If you arrive a few minutes early it allows you to get your bearings and meet more people face-to face before the formal part of the meeting. You should also allow at least an extra half hour at the end so that you don’t have to rush off immediately afterwards.
  3. Ask for a receipt. You can claim this as a business expense but make sure you ask because sometimes they’ll only give a receipt if you request it.
  4. Don’t sell during open networking when chatting to individual people. Networking is a long game and it’s about building relationships and trust. Be interested in them and their business and they’ll be interested in yours. It’s really important not to talk just about yourself.
  5. Don’t forget your cards! You should never go to a networking event without business cards to hand out. Take plenty. Try to find out in advance how many people there are likely to be. This could vary hugely – some groups could have as few as 10 members or as many as 60.How to be a Virtual Assistant
  6. Have a 60 second intro to your business prepared in advance. At most networking events there will be a chance for each person to stand up and tell the others about their business. Usually the time allowed will be 60 seconds but check beforehand with whoever invited you. Write down what you are going to say and practice in advance to make sure you don’t go over the limit.
  7. Use your 60 seconds wisely. The best format is to first say your name and business name and the type of business you are in.  Then very briefly describe the kind of services you provide – do not list every single thing you do! Then tell them the kind of clients you are looking for. The final part of your 60 seconds should be a repeat of your name and business name and possibly a tagline if you have time.
  8. Collect as many business cards as you can and note down on the cards the event and date. Later when you get home you can pick out the ones that you think would be good people to stay in contact with. Add them to your contacts, perhaps suggest meeting for a coffee to find out more about each others’ businesses. DON’T send a sales email to everyone you met – or to anyone unless you know for a fact they are interested.
  9. Don’t apply to join a group on the first visit. You need to think about it. Maybe try some other groups  before making a decision. But bear in mind you may not be allowed to visit a second or third time unless you apply to join – you’ll need to check the rules. In order to get the most of networking you really should join a group if you can – that way you have time to build relationships and trust.

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How to be a virtual assistant

2 Comments

  • Rachel priestley

    Reply Reply October 3, 2016

    Great advice Tanya! Getting on with a bit more research and prep for my first networking meeting tomorrow now 🙂

    • admin

      Reply Reply October 5, 2016

      Brilliant Rachel and it was great to hear from you through Facebook that it went really well!

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