If you do any networking at all, you likely get many requests for face-to-face meetings over coffee or dinner. Meeting in person is most effective when you want to make a connection to understand how you can be mutually beneficial to each other. Granted, these meetings may be an opportunity for future business, but you need to ensure any time away from your office and clients isn’t affecting your existing income.
In corporate offices, where meetings occur in the same space, face time is efficient, but if you’re an entrepreneur working from a home office, it may not be. For workers, such as a Virtual Assistant who is paid for only the hours worked, meetings can be a major time suck with a negative impact on the company bottom line.
Be smart about your meetings. Before rushing out to meet someone, try to determine the value of that connection first.
Does it make sense to interrupt your work day and guaranteed income to meet with a person who may, or may not, positively impact your business? Spend a little research time on the phone with the contact to determine if the connection has immediate or long term benefits. If the benefits are unknown or long term, put the face-to-face meeting off until a time that won’t impact your profit. Get together during a slower work season, or when you’re in the same area. Keep in mind it’s not just the face time you spend away from the office, it’s also the travel time and money spent on gas and food that affect your bottom line.
If you explain your time is at a premium, but you’d like to have a quick telephone conversation to better understand their business, the contact will feel valued instead of discounted. Fifteen minutes on the phone is a far better use of your time and allows you to:
- determine if your business is a good match for theirs
- determine if their business is a good match for yours
- recognize a referral you may be able to provide for their business
- explain how they can recognize a good referral for your business
And you’ll have accomplished this with time to spare…