In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when conferences, events, and business gatherings of all kinds have been canceled, it can be tough to see an opportunity to build and nurture your list of business contacts. And for many people, that may not seem like the most pressing concern.
But for those in the insurance industry—wholesale insurance in particular—building and cultivating professional relationships is a crucial part of running your business. And if you were just getting started before the coronavirus hit, you may feel like building those contacts is especially urgent.
But just because in-person events have been canceled doesn’t mean all networking must come to a halt. Here are a few ways to keep building contacts—despite stay-at-home orders.
Keep an Eye Out for Online Conferences
Many in-person insurance conferences are being canceled these days—some rescheduled, some not. A running list can be found at Insurance Journal.
It’s worth monitoring this. There’s no way to tell whether conferences that have been rescheduled for now will be able to go on as planned, or whether they’ll get rescheduled again or canceled in a few months.
Some organizers may start to move their conferences online, which would remove the risk of attending in person—while giving you a chance to make valuable professional connections.
Check Out Online Co-Working Groups
For something a little more informal, look for online co-working groups. These can be based on your shared professional interests, but they may attract people from a variety of industries and locations.
This could bring the benefit of expanding your network beyond the demographics you would usually target. MeetUp is a good place to start.
Reach Out to Contacts on LinkedIn
Many insurance professionals rely on LinkedIn to network online. Now may be a great time to strengthen your connections on this platform.
If you write content for LinkedIn—another great way to build your profile—choose a few contacts to interview about their perspective. Or simply start a conversation on a business challenge you’re facing, or their thoughts on how COVID-19 is impacting your business.
Get Involved in LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are virtual forums where people can post topics and hold conversations around mutually interesting topics.
Since long before the pandemic, the Groups have been a great place for professionals in all industries to demonstrate their expertise, ask and answer questions, and make connections.
But now, with in-person options for forging connections canceled until further notice, this type of networking has become even more important.
As of this writing, there are approximately 29,973 Groups on LinkedIn that fall under the topic of insurance—with lots of specializations within that space.
The coronavirus has made in-person networking impossible for now in most locations—but virtual networking can still be a powerful part of your marketing arsenal. Keep an eye out for digital networking opportunities, and hopefully you’ll forge connections that will stay strong long after things return to normal.