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“My networking is on hold,” she said.
“Wrong answer,” I thought–nearly out loud.
Thankfully, once in a very rare while, I just think things and don’t say them. But seriously, this is exactly the wrong time to put networking on hold. That might be the worst thing we can do right now.
There has never been a better time to build your network
Most of the time, people are hesitant to talk to someone they don’t yet know. There’s some resistance. There’s some what is this person trying to sell me? thinking going on.
That’s certainly not true right now.
Right now, most people will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime–so long as they’re standing six feet away and wearing a mask.
Most of us are desperate for human connection; it’s even better if we can do it via Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or Messenger.
We’ve talked to our spouse, our kids, our mother, and the neighbors over the fence, until we wish we could send them off with the grocery delivery guy for a few days while we take a break.
We’re a little lonesome
This virus, and the associated social distancing, have put space–both physical and emotional–between us. We feel it. We’re lawyers. Most of us are talkers. We like having an audience who will listen, and right now, we’re all feeling a need for some stimulating conversation with someone new.
You’re it. If only you’ll send us an email, or a text, or an Instagram or Facebook message, and open the door to a conversation. We’re constantly checking for a call to our mobile phone or even a letter in the mailbox (we’ll have to wait a few days to touch it while the germs die). We’re craving a good chat.
Human connection is exactly what the doctor ordered, especially with a nice person like you, who likes to talk about the same stuff as us.
We might have been too busy for you before, but not any more. We’d be happy for you to ask us questions about how we built our practice, what kind of work we love most, or how we predict this current situation will turn out. We want you to ask us questions and talk to us.
The cost/benefit analysis weighs heavily in your favor
Building your professional network is how you get more referrals. It works. In fact, it works better than any marketing tactic ever invented. Referrals get you better cases from prospective clients who already trust you and are willing to pay premium fees. A referral from a trusted source is a near-guarantee that you’re going to get a new client.
Many of us feel awkward about calling a stranger and inviting them to lunch. There’s no reason to feel that way today. We’re all starting to hit the green button on our mobile phones, even when we know it’s spam. We’re receptive to your call. We want someone new to talk to.
Most of us have some ambivalence about meeting new people. Calling a stranger, buying lunch, and keeping the conversation going makes some of us anxious. We get a bit of social anxiety.
The good news, in our current circumstances, is that we can’t easily go to lunch. But we can chat, either online or on the phone. It’s perfect. You can do it in your pajamas and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
This is your moment
This is it. This is networking nirvana. The people you call are all going to welcome the interruption. They’re going to be excited to talk. They’re going to be open to a voice or video call.
But wait … there’s more.
The relationships we start during a crisis are likely to have staying power. We tend to bond in moments like this. These are emotional times. The friends we make during this crisis are far more likely to turn into friends we keep for life. We go deeper, faster. We open up. We share. We connect.
Now is the time to make connections. This is your moment. Get busy. People are standing by for your call.
P.S. On Friday, May 1, we’ll be starting our Networking course live for Rosen Institute members. We’ll go deep into the step-by-step of making connections that generate business. We’ll spend a month, as a group, supporting one another, holding one another accountable, and helping one another through any obstacles we encounter. It’ll be fun, and we’ll build connections between ourselves and the people around us.