You probably look at many VA businesses and wonder how it is that some succeed and really develop and others seem to struggle to find clients and get the work. What is the difference?
A number of things – but one of the major ones would be networking – constantly.
Stats show that 80% of all business comes from networking and referrals. Is it any wonder that the successful VAs tell all the others ‘network, network and network some more’?
You don’t have to have the gift of the gab and have an eloquent speech prepared. But you do need to be ready to tell people what you do when asked, without umming and ahhing, or stuttering, and you also need to know how to start a conversation.
What is it that most people like to talk about? Themselves! So, the best way to start a conversation is show interest in the other person, find out about what they do, about their lives, interests, work, hobbies and so on. And when you hear them say something that could lead into what you do and how you can help them, make a mental note of it, or even write it down (on the back of their business card is a good place to be entered into your database later).
People don’t like the hard-sell approach but if you’re prepared to listen and learn when out at networking events, or participating networking chats online, you’ll be able to contact that person separately afterward and let them know you were thinking about what they said and perhaps you can help by….
If you are not already attending business networking events in your local area, then start looking around. Connect with people you know in business and ask where they go? Scan your local newspapers, contact your local council or community centre, check online.
There are business networks almost everywhere and you’re sure to find 2 or 3 you can go along to. And they don’t have to cost you lots of money. Some do have membership fees and the benefits to go with them, but many will allow you to attend as a guest for 2 or 3 meetings to start with, so you can work out whether their members are your ideal target market. Don’t forget any expenses you incur (travel, petrol, parking, entry fee, membership fee, meals, etc) are taxable expenses in the pursuit of your business.
I make it a rule to go to a small number of meetings every month. I love it here in my home office but I do need to get out and about now and then. And it’s always good to meet new people, and some I haven’t seen for awhile and learn about things I might not have learnt about if I didn’t go. It always makes me feel pleased to come back to my office, feeling refreshed and re-motivated to carry on!