MISTAKE #5 Staying Home
I live in a good 3-mile zone — how about you?
The pandemic started in March, by now we are used to a reduced social calendar, condensed errand running and diminished networking opportunities. We are keeping our activities in our own backyards. To me it seems like I am running in the same circles as the folks in my neighborhood. It is physical distancing, not social distancing
Extroverts like me are starving for conversation, strike one up. Even if you are 6 feet apart. Do you see the same folks every morning when you are walking your dogs, going for a run, hiking up a mountain or biking down the street? If you are nervous you can say, how ya doin? Or be bold, still working from home? Even the standard pick me up line, watched anything good on Netflix? These are all great entry points to start a conversation and learn more about what they do, where they work and who would be a good point of contact. No rush, this could take 7 or 8 weeks before you learn anything.
I witnessed a huge business deal occur when one biker stopped to recognize a fellow biker in distress:
“Jared, is that you?”
“Yes Travis, so sorry I have not gotten back to you, but yes, the deal is a go, got a …”
At the grocery store? This is uncharted territory, even with a mask you could say, “I am not used to working from home and really do not know my neighborhood. I am craving Italian—where is your favorite place to eat in the hood?” “Got a favorite dry cleaner?” “Where do you get your dog groomed?” “CVS or Walgreens, which do you like better?” Who knows where these types of conversation may lead? I met a favorite client at the airport waiting for a plane; another because I loved their shoes, and another while debating Dove Bars vs. Haagen Daz Bars in the freezer section.
Your instinct will guide you on who to talk to. Your people will send you a signal: hiking boots, handbag, hair color; you will know when to comment. You will feel an irresistible attraction.
Ask their name and add them on LinkedIn. “Great meeting you at the artichoke section, love to connect with you.” Think of this as a personal rolodex, you will be able to put a name with a face.
The days of CVENT sending you 20 RFP’s a day from a site sourcer are on pause. Even Seasoned Meeting Professionals have begun huge learning curves. Hotels and resorts have re-engineered sales teams to the point where a planner no longer has a history or relationship with anyone at the venue.
Making these random connections to add to your network will help keep your pipeline dripping.
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