Career

5 Common Virtual Networking Mistakes to Avoid

This guest blog post is courtesy of Portside Ventura Harbor, which provides modern live/work spaces in Ventura, California.

Have you ever accepted a social media request from a random stranger, only to hear your inbox ding after?

The instant sigh you let out when you know you’ve become the target of a virtual networker is precisely what you want to avoid as one yourself.

Today’s post-pandemic society has made distance working a normal, accepted part of the career force. Many major companies swapped many of their employees to permanent home positions. Millions of people moved to freelance or other online work.

This influx of part- and full-time home-based is both a pro and a con to the industry. You may get your foot in the door easier, but people are also aggravated by those who make amateur and irritating mistakes.

To successfully build a virtual network, be sure you avoid these common pitfalls of the many who enter this world without care!


1. In With the New, Out With the Old Contacts

One of the most significant mistakes a person can make when building a network is to focus on new contacts only. You can get so wrapped up in finding new connections that your old ones get neglected.

It’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for mutually beneficial contacts. But when it comes to virtual networking, quality is more important than quantity. If you have 5,000 people in your network, but none of you have any idea what the other people offer, is any of it valuable?

Go ahead and bring in new people into your network slowly. Take some time to get to know them and let them gradually see your strengths. Consistency and time are the keys to building a virtual network.

With that idea in mind, remember that your older contacts have been loyal to you. Continue to strengthen those relationships by checking in regularly.

Remember their special occasions and send a referral their way when possible. This makes it more likely that they’ll reciprocate.

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2. Neglecting a Professional Appearance

Neglecting Professional Appearance

Virtual networking occurs from home via Zoom or other technology programs. However, you still need to look, dress, and act professionally.

You’ve heard the virtual embarrassing-moment horror stories. The guy who didn’t realize his camera was on and walked around in his underwear. The woman who decided to go to the bathroom on a call but forgot to mute the sound.

You can’t neglect your appearance during a virtual network call, And you have to consider your environment, too.

If it’s a video call, don’t forget about the area around you that your contacts will see. Take a moment to set up a professional background. Get rid of anything overly personal that you’d prefer others not to notice.

And above all else, wear pants.


3. Making Cold Pitches

Like the dreaded ding of your inbox after you accept a friend request, when you cold pitch someone, they aren’t happy. Instead of it being a potential contact, you may have lost any chance of working with them instantly.

Before establishing a networking connection, take time to get to know the individual, and build a rapport. If you’re trying to get on their social media page, take a few days to see what they do.

Let them see your posts and what you offer. Remember that many people will blow up their inbox and news feed with unwanted information. It’s your job to teach new connections that you aren’t that kind of person. The only way to do this is slowly.

Another must is to make sure to avoid generic, copy/paste messages. You can have a set spiel that you use and even paste it, but you must personalize it before you send it.

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4. Not Considering the Other Person’s Preferences

 

Not Considering Other Persons Preferences e1606926050596There are hundreds of personality tests that prove we all have our unique styles. Don’t aim all your network connection attempts at what works for you. Or you’ll miss out on those who think differently.

From colors to Enneagrams, people operate under a basic set of values and preferences. When you research these personality styles, you learn more about approaching a potential contact.

Consider “The Four Color Personalities For MLM: The Secret Language For Network Marketing.” In this book, readers learn what drives a person to buy a product.

In general, people are one of the following colors at heart:

    • Green – those who want to know how and why something works, detail and statistic operated
    • Blue – those who enjoy the social aspect of a product, how it can connect them to more people and experiences
    • Red – people who are money and goal-focused and want to get to the point immediately
    • Yellow – people who prefer to help others and would be more likely to purchase something if it had a societal or environmental impact

 

There are other personality evaluations you can use to get to know your contacts. Choose one, or a few, and learn how to apply them. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t ever work well consistently.


5. Not Knowing When Enough is Enough, or Not Enough

Overselling is a frequent flaw for many new networkers. But underselling is as much of a client-fail, too. You have to find a happy medium.

This is where getting to know a contact’s interests and goals helps. When you convince someone your product or service is valuable to them or someone they know, you don’t have to sell it.

You might be pressed for time with a sales requirement, but you can’t rush a networking relationship. Building stability and loyalty will always pay off more in the end than a hurried sale.


Conclusion

While virtual networking seems to be how the entire business world is going, that doesn’t mean you can’t mess up.

But you can jump on board this train and be successful at it if you avoid these five common industry mistakes!

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