Volunteer in Your Community
If you have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart, like conservation, building confidence in girls, or promoting literacy, there are likely several non-profit organizations in your area looking for help. VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org are two great websites that let you search by location, commitment, and industry to find organizations that are looking for help.
Think of it as double duty: Volunteering regularly or at specific events throughout the year is a way to give back to your community while also meeting new prospects and growing your network. Working for a cause you both care about makes for an easy way to make friends and get to know others in your local area.
If finding the perfect non-profit organization to volunteer with seems overwhelming, try looking for opportunities at local civic centers. Libraries, museums, food kitchens, and community centers all usually have openings for volunteers.
If you know your public speaking skills could be better (which, honestly, is true for most of us), consider joining Toastmasters International. Most chapters meet every other week or twice a month. You can join at any time, and you go through a process of writing and presenting speeches in front of other members. Toastmasters is known for being a supportive, non-intimidating environment, which makes it a great way to grow your public speaking skills while also getting to know your fellow chapter members.
Additionally, because most members are business professionals looking to further their experience, you may find others who could be interested in your services or products. The environment is a natural place to learn more about your fellow members.
Reconnect With Those With Big Networks
You’ve likely connected with several “super connectors” in your life without even knowing it. Professionals who rely on knowing people are often bountiful resources for getting referrals in your own industry. A few people you likely already know are your realtor, accountant, interior designer, car salesman, or any other professional that interacts with many people as part of their trade.
If you have a longstanding, trustworthy relationship with any of these people, be sure they are aware you are always looking for referrals. Specify your key offerings so they can keep you in mind.
Your fellow salespeople can help you as well. Build relationships with other sales professionals in different industries, and you can all keep each other in mind whenever someone is looking for a referral.
Building a robust network and sales pipeline is all about being active in your community and industry. By hosting small dinners, volunteering at your child’s school or in a local non-profit, and growing your thought leadership online, you can foster and build relationships that will likely lead to referrals and leads for years to come.
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