Networking for the introvert coach – Episode 6

Networking for the introvert coach. How can you use the online environment to make your next connection at a life network event easy as 1-2-3 – the fifth and last episode in this series of the ‘attracting clients’ model.

Episode 6

Enjoy this episode

Show notes

Hello and welcome to episode number 6 of the #1coachbiz podcast.

Personal: For many years I hated football/soccer, my mom was the reason for this. She shouted during the matches on television. Now I run on the football field every week as a referee.

Today I will talk about what is the best place to meet your target client, how a good profile makes you real, and connect and interact like real people.

Let’s get the show rolling.

Que intro

In episode 2 I share that I hate large crowds When I am at a networking event with 10+ people that I hardly know I just stand there. Btw that is a large crowd to me. I will be waiting in the corner or at quiet place for someone to walk up to me and start talking. In the meantime I observe the people, how they talk, who they are talking with, who laughs…

I find it difficult to walk up to people that I don’t know very well and just start talking to them. Once I start talking with that person it often continues for a longer time. I connect, ask questions, learn, share. It’s not that I can’t talk. I just have a fear for that first moment, where you walk up to someone and ask the first simple question.

It is this fear that I want to tackle in 2015. As you probably heard before, you grow outside your comfort zone. Well, this is outside my comfort zone. And I want to grow. Meaning more network events and meeting with people this year. Also tagging along with one or two people that are very good at this and let them do the first introduction. Watch and learn how they do this.

The funny thing is that speaking at crowds is something I am not scared about. Of course, I have some feelings of anxiety in my stomach but this is easy for me. When someone invites me on the stage to say something, tell my story, do a workshop, give a presentation that is not a problem. The good thing is that people come to you after you have done a presentation that was interesting and valuable for the attendees. So no need for me to start talking to people that I don’t know. Good speakers also mingle with the attendees before the presentation to use this in their presentation. Something that I am not good at either.

When someone introduces me to people in the crowd I don’t mind chatting and talking. But that first moment when I am in a room mostly filled with people that I don’t know. Brrr.

That is probably one of the reasons why I like networking on social networking sites so much. In the first years of Twitter, it was so much fun to start following people from all over the world that chat about topics that I love. I could just listen to them and slowly chime in with my ideas. Making connections all over the world.

That is how I connected with people like Robert Scoble, Brian Solis, Chris Garrett, Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk whenever I was at the same event I would just ask via Twitter if we could meet during the event. Connected with many bloggers at events in Europe. No need to be at an event with just strangers. Connect and meet with these people first on Twitter and continue the discussion in person at the event.

It became very easy for me to connect with new people on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Just follow and connect with anybody that I felt was telling interesting stories. These like real networking events the people in these networking sites are 95% very kind and open.

For me, social networking sites feel like a friend that is good in networking where I can tag along and he introduces me with his friends.

Of course, blogging since 2005 and networking on LinkedIn since 2004, Facebook 2005 and Twitter 2007 helped me to write and connect and these platforms. Writing and clicking publish is not something that was natural to me, but I did, fell on my face, improved, and still learn every day. Now it feels very natural to me. This is my comfort zone.

This year, 2015, is my year to step out of my comfort zone in connection in real life, at networking events. Just walking to the first person and ask a question. A simple question to get the conversation going. I know I can learn this too.

One of the reasons I decided to become a referee next to my hobby the assistant referee on the soccer field, was that as a referee I am always in the center of the field. When I blow the whistle the players, team manager, the trainer, the parents and the rest of the spectators will look at me. So I am in the center, out of my comfort zone, getting used to it and enjoying it. And it starts when you walk into the clubhouse and introducing yourself as a referee to all these people that you don’t know.

At the soccer club, it is easy to meet the right people. I am at exactly the right place. Two teams are here, team managers, trainers and more. Everybody that is interested in the next game that will start in an hour or so.

But where do you find your target client when it is not so obvious where they hang out. And they don’t come to you because you are necessary for that game.

Let’s start with the first section.

What is the best place to meet your target client?

When everything was as organized as soccer and as a referee you would just meet with 25-50 people at the agreed-upon time and place this would be easy. Well, it actually is.

There are probably numerous places where your potential client hangs out, offline and online. You just have to know where.

The mistake we make here is that I lose my focus. I think about places where my audience hangs out I forget to focus on my target client. By just focussing on her it all becomes a lot easier. Instead of guessing where they hang out, you can just ask your target client.

Ask her:

  • what blogs does she read
  • what emails from experts does she always open
  • what forum does she visit
  • what social networking site gets her daily attention
  • what groups in these sites did she join and visits regularly
  • what events does she visit
  • what workshops does she attend

These are the places she hangs out. It is very likely that people that are like your target client will hang out here too. So these are the places for you to be.

Maybe you are asking “What do you mean with hanging out at blogs and in emails?”

Let’s start with hanging out at the blogs/sites that your target client visits. You can hang out in the comments. Reply to other people’s questions in the comments. You can add helpful tips in addition to the topic discussed in the post. Ask the owner of the blog if you can send him a proposal for an article for the blog. That’s how you become visible with your target client and the people like her.

How do you hang out in an email from an expert that she reads? Ask the expert if you can publish a post for the email. Think about a challenge that you can do with this expert, a challenge for your and his followers. Invite the expert to become a JV in your next launch. Make it valuable for the expert and his followers.

Become a member of the forum or group and start answering questions of the other members. Make yourself valuable to the community. Never sell or promote in the community because it will just get you banned by the admins.

Now for the offline networking events. You like to connect with people in person. On the other hand, visiting networking events cost time. So choose your events wisely. What events does your target client visit multiple times per year? See if these events are open to you. Make sure you visit these events at least 6 times per year or the people there will not get to know you.

In online networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, there are highly valuable and active groups. The good thing about these groups compared to pages on Facebook, for example, is that you see lots more updates from groups compared to updates from pages. So when you help people in these groups by answering questions on a daily basis you will stand out. People will get to know you and learn about your knowledge and expertise. You are building trust. This will cost you some time doing this daily (15-30 minutes) so you need to choose wisely here. You can join more groups but choose to be daily active in 2-3 groups.

The good thing is that you can use these questions and answers to write articles on for your Power Platform. These are the answers that people like your target client really are looking for. So they will find your replies, your help, in the social networking sites and in the search engines.

You can also use these questions to build your next product. You now know what your target client is looking for, what questions they have and what answers helped them. This is what your target client needs, so create a product, training, course, ebook to help them and you will have sales.

Over to part two of this episode.

How a good profile makes you real

When you meet people in person you can see their face, what they are wearing, how they talk, their gestures, their laughs, the way they talk with you. There is the first impression, and then the second one, the third one and many more. You learn lots of things during your conversation.

When people meet you online there are the answers you type and your profile photo. This photo really is their first impression of you. So it is important to get this right.

What is important for the perfect profile photo? Your face, people want to see your face. We read a lot from the face. So make sure we see as much face of you as possible. A photo of you standing somewhere does not help because we can’t see your face. The best thing is also to have a photo where you smile. A smile means that you are open. When you meet someone in person and your smile it is very easy for the other person to also smile. It makes it easier to connect and start talking with you.

Weird thing, a photo has the same effect. A photo where you smile will make you more open and easier for people to connect with you. The Duchenne smile where you get smiling wrinkles next to your eyes and mouth are genuine and people see that. Want to learn 5 tips for the perfect profile photo for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? I will share a link in the show notes. Just go to

So a logo of your business is not the perfect profile image.

The second thing people will look at in networking sites is your headline, what do you do, who are you? Make sure that the headline in sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are very clear and consistent. This makes it easier for people like your target client to understand that you are able to help her. Your headline will also show up in the search engines for example from your LinkedIn profile.

The perfect headline tells who you work for, what their problem is, what your solution is and how this benefits them.

The last thing about your profile on social networking sites, keep it personal. Make sure that people get to know the real you. In everyday life, you are also not just sending out promotions or just talk about your business. You have hobbies, frustrations, failures, problems, difficulties, fun. Share this too. This makes it easier for people to connect with you. Also this way there are no surprises when people start working with you. Relax.

Now the last part of this episode

Connect and interact like real people

Before I jump into a discussion at a birthday party or at a networking event I listen. Is there something valuable I can add? Can I answer a question? I don’t just jump in and start telling my own story that is totally not related to what the other people in the group weren’t talked about. When I want to talk with someone new that is not talking to anyone I start with small talk.

This is no different online. Before you jump into any discussion or network start with listening to the people that are already there. What are they talking about? What questions do they ask? After listening for a few days you can start answering questions from other members. Compliment someone or congratulate them for an accomplishment she shared. Like answers of others. Mention someone in your comments that could be a great help for this question. Be of value to the group.

Slowly you can add a link to one of your articles that really answers the question. Not to promote yourself, just to answer the question. Learn what replies work. You can see this from the Likes for your comment.

Now you can add your own insights to the group. When you share a link for an article (not yours) that like, explain what you like about it. Share stories that are a good fit for the group. By this time you really understand what the members of the group are looking for.

This all takes time, but when done right you will attract clients from these networks, platforms, and groups. People that you can help with your service or products.

This concludes this episode and this series on attracting the right client. In the previous episodes I talked about choosing the client so they can choose for your most important website your client visits, the lifeline for your business and today about networking.

The next episode will be my first interview with a successful coach. Learn how this lady brook through internationally from the Netherlands even though she is a hermit, a happy hermit. Each Friday a new interview.

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.