We waste hours and hours of valuable time on social media and yet when it comes to meeting clients in person, it is considered as “too much time consuming”
In the age of social media, we often forget the traditional way to network and meet people. It is considered as an old school way of doing things. If one does it the right way, it is still a very effective source to long-term clients.
Interacting with the clients over a tea junction or a cafe coffee day can help you crack the deal with a potential client fairly easily. The irony is, we waste hours and hours of valuable time on social media and yet when it comes to meeting clients in person, it is considered as “too much time consuming”.
How to Network to Find Clients?
Google for the following terms and find events that happen in your city.
- [your city] + “events”
- [your city] + “networking”
- [your city] + “entrepreneur”
- [your city] + “business”
- [your city] + “TED”
- [your city] + “entrepreneurs meet”
- “business meet” + [your city]
At least try to participate one event every month. Try to network with people in the industry. Slowly over time, you can build a lot of connections with people in the industry that can help you with a lot of potential clients.
Will it work for Individual Freelancers?
The short answer is YES but often if you look at it only from getting a client point of view, you may see a lot of disappointment initially. The reason being, every such event is different and one needs to figure out the right platform for finding the right set of clients as well as the right method of interaction. If you look at such events from the varying point of view, it can prove to be very fruitful.
When interacting in such events, you not only meet people who may need what you are offering but meet people from the same industry and how and what are their views on the ever-changing landscape. It can provide you new areas to focus on or it may help you tweak how you may be doing things. Freelancers working from home needs such interactions more than anyone else.
The other opportunity can be to find good freelancers in your locality. Outsource or team up with other freelancers to compliment with what you do. A developer can outsource or team up with a designer or a web developer can outsource or team up with an app developer or vice versa.
There is no harm in attending such events but make sure you attend those events with an open-mindedness. It can help in more than one way but if you nothing happens, it will improve the interpersonal communication skills.
How to Make Most of Such Networking Events?
You aren’t attending the event to kill time. Be more proactive in such events and here is how to make the most of such events.
- One-off may not take you very far – If you plan to attend events, make sure you aren’t planning it for one such event and become more of a regular in few events around the year. Often you will meet the same person in more than one such events which can build a good professional relationship.
- Have a goal to meet N people in each event – The aim shouldn’t be to meet people who can be your potential clients but have a goal to meet as many people as humanly possible. Make sure you aren’t rushing from one person or group to other just to make sure you reach the number N earlier.
- Always carry ample business cards – Business cards is a must for any business person or freelancers. Often the aim of such meet is to exchange a business card. Make sure you never are out of business cards.
- Dinner with new people – Often we tend to sit with people we know but don’t forget you aren’t in the event for a dinner but to network with people. So have a dinner with new people you have just met.
- Approach new people and be approachable – Often people have issues starting a conversation. Start a conversation with “how are you doing?” or “how is the business doing?” question. These questions are a good starting point to let the conversation flow.
- Keep in touch – Exchange of business cards isn’t the end of interaction but it is a start of new ways to interact. Follow up the conversation professionally but make sure you don’t start sending those good mornings WhatsApp forwards.
- Ask for referrals – Even if you aren’t working with someone whom you thought will be your potential clients, letting them know to refer their friends who may need something similar isn’t a bad idea either.
Further Reading …