2020 changed the world forever in ways we’re still discovering and adjusting to. Social distancing forced many jobs online. Workspaces became remote. Meetings were no longer held in conference rooms, but Zoom rooms.
One thing hasn’t changed though: the need for networking with clients. Relationship building remains a crucial part of sales. However, a new challenge has emerged: access. Doctors’ offices and operating rooms are now restricted, so how do you get in the business without getting in the room?
Here are easy ways to build up your virtual network and client base without leaving your remote office:
Start with who you know
Go through your email contacts and your client list to start. Find your strongest connections. Check in with them. See how they’re doing by connecting on a human level. This pandemic has been challenging for everyone, so a bit of empathy can go a very long way.
If you haven’t talked for a while, reestablish the connection. Existing clients hold great opportunities for upselling. They can also act as a source of referrals, which will be stronger than any cold calling. Once you’re positively back on their radar, ask them if there’s anyone else who would benefit from talking to you.
Many doctors have other doctors in their network, so ask for the introduction. The worst that can happen? They say no. The best? They’ll have you networking with clients who already know who you are and know they can trust you.
Don’t be greedy when you network. Continue to create regular opportunities to check in with your warm network even after you get the referrals. Share new product updates. Be as available to your existing and potential clients as you would have been pre-pandemic. Just take it safely to Zoom.
Build a social media persona
Update your social media profiles to tell the story you want your clients to see. Review your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles. Remove outdated pictures that aren’t professional. Clean up any posts written during spring break pre-professional you.
When your account’s ready, use it to your advantage. Make new connections. Send invitations to established clients as well as second and third connections. Build up your network. Touch base. Share what you do and how you can be of value. Don’t stress if the sale doesn’t immediately follow. Virtual networking can take time, just like in-person networking.
Use your accounts to establish yourself as an expert. Share relevant articles and posts. The more often you share, the more you will appear in your network’s feeds. Build up your credibility. Take advantage of the notifications and features on these platforms. For example, LinkedIn lets you know when it’s someone’s birthday or work anniversary. It only takes a minute to reach out and congratulate them.
All of these platforms allow for re-sharing or reacting to others’ posts. Let them know you’re engaged by interacting with what your network is sharing.
When one of your connections begins looking for help from a medical salesperson, your name will come to the top of mind. Be ready for when they’re ready to buy.
Know your sales strengths, and use them. Small talk can be difficult over in-person cocktail hours. Networking with clients virtually offers more opportunities to practice. Use the practice to refine your elevator pitch and your small talk. Don’t change who you are though.
People can tell when you’re being fake and when they’re being sold to. As a successful medical salesperson, you know this. Don’t let the pandemic make you forget how to network with clients. Ask questions. Listen intently. Show you’re paying attention.
Be authentic and warm. Video calls and emails can feel a bit awkward at first. Tone can be lost in translation. Go out of your way to make a personal connection and let your true personality shine. Now, more than ever, people are looking for a human connection. Be someone they can trust and rely on.
Lay the groundwork and follow up
Once you’ve established new connections, continue to follow up. Nurture these relationships until they grow into sales. If no sale occurs, keep passively nurturing your leads through marketing emails.
Always leave a conversation on good terms. Create an opportunity for another chat. You never know who will turn into your next big sale.