It’s amazing what the impact of the Coronavirus has had on life as we know it. You can’t turn on the news or read a tweet and not see terms like outbreak, pandemic, self-quarantine, social distancing, soap and water, sanitizer, face masks, work from home, touching elbows, or cancelled due to COVID-19.
All too often, we read in the news about bombings, shootings, accidents, and all kinds of bad stuff that happens in other countries. Other states and towns. With other people. Far, far away from us.
Suddenly, over the last several weeks, this thing got real.
COVID-19 is affecting our jobs, the way we do business, clients, air travel, sports, eating habits, dental appointments, social gatherings, fitness classes, schools, grocery shopping, conferences, news cycles, and unfortunately life and death.
Outside of the many busy doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, a lot more people have more time on their hands now that Chili’s is closed.
As my mom used to say, “This too shall pass.”
On Friday, I cancelled a networking event that I lead in New York City that was scheduled for this week. That means cancelling a food order, beverage order, conference space, and issuing refunds.
In my “this event has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19” email to the group, I offered to host a virtual networking meeting that would take place the same time the other event had been scheduled. The response has been overwhelming.
What a great idea! How nice of you! Brilliant! Thank you for doing this!
Registrations are coming in as I write this article. Frankly, I didn’t think a virtual meeting was such an incredible idea. OK, it was a good idea. Common sense. But there are virtual meetings that happen all the time. It’s not like I offered to hold the meeting in a sterilized submarine in the Bahamas complete with fruity drinks with umbrellas, face masks, wipes, and Dr. Oz as the host.
All I did was offer to take the meeting online.
But something struck a chord with the members and the rest of the networking community. We don’t often think “online” when it comes to networking meetings. Webinars and business meetings, yes. But not meetings that are focused on developing relationships to exchange business.
Leading an online meeting is not my favorite thing either. It’s much more difficult to connect with people online and not nearly as much fun. (At least not for me.) But clearly, it has its place.
I do think this is the time to take what might be obvious solutions and transform them into healthy strategies that are helpful.
Anyway, as a sales producer, how can you continue to connect and stay relevant with your prospects, clients, referral sources, and other contacts as you spend more time at home working from your dining room table?
1. Deliver a webinar.
What is your area of expertise? Who needs to hear about what it is you know? It’s easy enough to develop a webinar that can teach your marketplace about something they need to know. Simply create a Top 10 List about the most important aspects of something your prospects, and clients need to know – that might be a great place to start. If you’re a financial advisor, there’s probably a lot of advice you can offer about financial planning and what to do now that many people aren’t working or are in businesses that are at a standstill. Of course, there are plenty of webinars out there right now about COVID-19 and what to do. With the downtime, this might be a great opportunity to develop a webinar, especially if you’ve never delivered one. Maybe you can develop a series of webinars and provide one every week. At the end of your first webinar, ask your audience if there are other related topics that they would be interested in learning about. That’s your next webinar!
2. Write an article or blog.
That Top 10 List I mentioned earlier might also be a great start to a blog. (That’s how this one got started!) Once you get an article or blog written about your key topic, you can email it to prospects and clients and get their feedback. In fact, you can ask prospects and clients if they would be interested in attending a webinar if you created one with the subject matter of the blog. You can post the blog on your favorite social media platforms and generate more buzz and feedback. Do you have recent posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook that can become blogs? Remember, blogs can become articles. Articles can become chapters. Chapters can become books. And books can become, well you get the idea.