This post is based on a presentation by Vanessa Higgins from the 2020 Maid Summit. Vanessa is the founder and owner of Clean Tu Casa LLC, a residential, commercial & Airbnb cleaning company that she grew to 6-figures in annual revenue in less than three years. Vanessa attributes her journey to a genuine interest in helping others and making meaningful connections. Now, she’s sharing a unique perspective to help business owners create more meaningful relationships for themselves and their brand, even during a pandemic.
For some people, networking comes naturally, while for others, just the word might cause a bit of a panic. However you feel about it, networking can significantly impact both your business and your journey as an entrepreneur.
When you network, it helps spread your brand’s message to others and helps you feel more comfortable talking about yourself and your business. Networking gives others an opportunity to learn about the unique perspective you offer the world.
Here are some practical and actionable steps you can take to make it more of a priority, even during a pandemic.
Categorize the people you want to reach out to
Networking can seem overwhelming if you don’t know how or where to start. Throw in a global pandemic, and you might even know how to go about talking to people at all.
Start simple by making two lists of the people you can network with:
- List one – Include people you’ve already met that you want to reconnect with.
- List two – Think about all of the people you want to meet, such as community leaders, industry leaders, or potential mentors.
Then, for each person on the list write down the best way to reach them. For example, for people you’ve already met, you might schedule a video call to catch up. If you want to introduce yourself to new people, research the best ways to connect with them and send them a message.
If you’re already using social media for your maid service, then reaching out through your social channels can be a perfect way to connect with people in your industry.
Take note of the people you interact with regularly on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you’ve never met them in person, you have an excellent opportunity to reach out and ask if they want to have a quick chat to get to know each other.
Look for opportunities to network virtually
When you’ve made your lists of people to network with, choose how you want to start that conversation. You can ask them if they’re open to jumping on a phone call, or virtual coffee date on Zoom.
If you’re looking to expand your network even more, search through business directories in your area. It should be easy to find other maid service owners to reach out to for networking or sharing stories. It’s always nice to have other people in your industry that you can relate to with shared experiences.
When you network with other types of cleaning businesses, it also opens doors to forming partnerships further down the line. If you complement each other’s services this can be a great way to get referrals or partner on special offers.
Here are a few other ways to connect with people virtually:
- Reconnect with old colleagues or classmates
- Interview existing customers about how their needs have changed
- Set up Zoom calls with different business owners in your area
- Write a friendly email to a restaurant or other local business you are waiting to reopen
When the time is right, look for in-person events
Once it’s safe to hold events in your area, start looking for in-person events you can attend. If you live in a metropolitan area, there are likely dozens of events that cater to local entrepreneurs.
A great place to start is by researching your local BNI or chamber of commerce to see what meetups they have on the horizon. If they don’t have any events scheduled, you might be able to access a list of members or a virtual forum that you can join and start conversations.
Other opportunities to network in your area can include:
- Visiting coworking spaces
- Attending a Toastmasters meetup
- Checking out local minority or affinity groups if you belong to a specific community
Over the past year, many of these in-person organizations have made the transition to hold their in-person events online. Even if you cannot meet in person, reach out to the organizers and see if they are planning to hold any of their events online.
You don’t have to be an outgoing extrovert to form meaningful relationships with people in your industry.
Sometimes networking sometimes gets a bad reputation, seen as stiff meetings filled with salespeople and endless elevator pitches. But the most authentic way to make an impact is to approach networking through natural conversation and an eagerness to learn about others.
There are dozens of ways to market your business. While networking is a great way to spread the word, your primary motivation for meeting people should be to get to know them and make genuine connections, not pitch your services.
It’s not something that should yield immediate results, and you shouldn’t aim to sell to every person you meet. Instead, use networking as a way to develop authentic, personal and professional relationships that will benefit you and your business in the future.
Set a goal to have 30 conversations in 30 days
Using the techniques we mentioned in this post, commit to having 30 conversations in 30 days. Make a list of 30 people, events, or opportunities to network and commit to starting one conversation per day for 30 days.
You can even try to involve your team in the challenge as well. Having your employees join in on the networking challenge can help create a more sociable company culture. It can also help them get to know other people working in the industry and encourage them to grow their own networks.
When approaching this challenge, think about mini-goals you can set around these conversations. You don’t have to aim for 30 new leads. Instead, it’s best if you aim for a variety of conversations and outcomes.
Some goals of these conversations can be to:
- Grow your personal network
- Help other maid services
- Get to know other local businesses in your community
- Show appreciation for your existing clients
Remember to keep the conversation light and organic. Don’t go out of your way to give an elevator pitch. Just start a natural conversation and let people get to know you as a person. The conversation doesn’t always have to revolve around your business.
Take this networking challenge to learn more about yourself, your business, and how to build more meaningful relationships in your industry.
If you try this challenge, we want to hear about it!
Share your experience in the ZenMaid Mastermind Facebook Group.
For more tips on networking, marketing, automation, and more, check out the complete list of presentations from the 2020 Maid Summit. The MaidSummit, hosted by ZenMaid, was designed to help maid service owners and cleaning businesses learn from the industry’s leading professionals. Get access to all of the replays and more here.
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