A Beginner’s Guide to Virtual Networking for Independent Agents
You may be asking yourself, “why do I need to network?” The straight-forward answer is because the more people you tell about your services, the more leads you receive. 20% of all Americans are over 65, that means everybody knows someone who could potentially use your assistance with obtaining a Medicare plan. The question then becomes, “can I afford not to network?”
Let’s face it, networking can be challenging – even the most outgoing personality may struggle with introducing themselves and their services to a group of strangers. This is why virtual networking is a great place to start. Most people are more comfortable in their own surroundings and virtual networking provides that opportunity. If you practice now, then you will likely feel more at ease networking in person when things return to normal.
Attend webinars/online forums. If you’re looking to connect with an individual, group, or organization, attend their webinars, online group chats, etc. You’re likely to learn more about their approach to the professional services they provide. You also increase your chances of becoming a personal connection by becoming more visible within their network.
Expand your LinkedIn network. There are a lot of social media platforms that let you form groups, chats, etc. When it comes to networking with fellow professionals, LinkedIn is king. Use LinkedIn to connect with co-workers, former co-workers, local business professionals and people you meet in public (when things return to normal). You can also use LinkedIn groups to ask questions, share career-related articles and post current information.
Create online content. Writing a good blog requires dedication and it also gives you the opportunity to share your unique perspective. A well-written blog can highlight your area of expertise, present you as an authority in your field, and demonstrate you’re up to date with current trends and information. Colleagues who read your blog will get a better sense of your personal approach and the value you bring to the relationship. You can direct new connections to the blog through posts on LinkedIn and by including a link in your email signature.
Another form of online content that’s under-utilized is introductory videos. Create a video to introduce yourself, post it on social media channels, and/or include links to the video within a LinkedIn message or an email. BombBomb is an online service that can streamline the process, allowing you to easily record and add videos to email messages. Keep in mind, not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. If you come across as too stiff or rehearsed in your presentations, stick to the methods best suited to your strengths.
Send focused emails. The key to maximizing your networking efforts through email is sending individual, personalized messages rather than mass emails. Thoroughly research the individual or company you’re reaching out to and make sure to communicate how a partnership/relationship can be mutually beneficial. Keep in mind email best practices: write a captivating subject line, be as concise as possible, use professional yet conversational language, make your message about the recipient rather than just about you, and include a photo in the email signature to help readers put a face to the name.
At its core, virtual networking shares the same principles as networking in person, it just requires a different set of tools. Now more than ever, we need to use all the tools at our disposal. During this time of social distancing, remote sales and virtual networking can be the bridge between self-isolation and growing your book of business.
As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must network and generate new leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-745-2320.