I know what you’re thinking. You didn’t know it would be so hard to find clients for your VA business.
But think about it – when you apply for and get a job, you stop looking, right?
You stay at that job until you are unhappy, and then you start looking again.
It’s a natural habit that gets formed.
But it’s not the same in business.
You should always be looking in business.
Looking ahead and what is coming up next.
Looking around you for people to work with.
Looking behind you to make sure everything you are doing is working for you.
That’s why networking is such an important part of your business. You must look for clients all the time, everywhere.
But for some of us, it’s not natural to get out there (virtually or in person) and talk to people about our business.
For one thing, if your business is not going amazingly well, you can get stopped in your tracks when someone asks you how it’s going.
For another, if you think that ‘sales’ is a slimy thing, then you can get really stuck when you are in business conversations.
But here’s the thing. It’s only uncomfortable because you aren’t doing it right.
Networking is not sales.
Networking is connecting with people to talk about what they do, and how you can help them.
And as administrative professionals, that’s what we do best, isn’t it?
When you get into a networking situation, the very best thing you can do is ask questions.
Although people will ask you what you do, you can guide the questions easily so that you talk about their business – and then you can easily insert ‘I could help you with that.’ statements into the conversation. Probably many of them!
VAs often get hung up on how to describe their business, and what the selling features are of being a VA – when the reality is that clients don’t really care to know that. They are not going to BE a VA – they are the business owner that can be your client. So, it’s most important to realize that it’s all about them, not you.
When you realize this, your networking conversations get soooooo much easier.
And yes, your business will come into it and you can have conversations about that, but if you are feeling uncomfortable when you are out and about in these situations, I can almost guarantee it’s because you aren’t sure how to talk about your own business.
But if you are talking about theirs – for example, someone is an overwhelmed entrepreneur, going to a bunch of networking events and not sure how to follow-up with people – if that is something you can help them with, then you can start asking them what their procedure is after an event. What systems do they use to manage their connections? Do they have a follow-up system? How do they manage their calendar? Where do they find the events they attend?
See where that’s going? By asking questions, you get the potential client sharing their information and you are in the driver’s seat of the conversation.
As they answer the questions, you can share your expertise or suggestions for ways to make things easier for them. It places you in a much more comfortable position – and you are still talking about your business – just not in a way that feels icky or uncomfortable.
Try it next time you are at a networking event. You’ll notice the difference immediately!
Tracey D’Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. Contact Tracey for speaking engagements, group training or private coaching at www.yourvamentor.com.