We are in what seems unprecedented times. 

As I sit here, working at my kitchen table and my Wife works upstairs in the home office, am I worried, of course I am, but we have to keep business conversations going, no matter what. Whilst this article is referencing the legal sector, it plays to all businesses out there.

Yes of course, it is great that Microsoft and Google are offering free access to Teams & Hangouts, but free won't be forever. It will be interesting to see if other collaboration platforms will follow suit. 

The salient point in this article is about the shift in culture, not so much about the technology itself. There will be instances where this will be the first time for some people that they will have to use one of these platforms to run a virtual meeting, workshops, seminars, any form of 121 or 1 2 many communication. This will be a steep learning curve, a completly different user experience, not to mention the pressure this may well put on their IT support functions when things don't work properly. 

As the article also mentions, for smaller business who cannot afford to buy more technology or bandwith, they are going to have to think differently.

There is a workaround, for both small and large business that everyone has access to. For Free. The biggest Business to Business platform in the world, and that is LinkedIn. 675 million people and counting. I would suggest that for any of you reading this, for the vast majority of you, the lion share of your exsiting clients and future ones will have a presence on LinkedIn. Yes at varying degrees of how they use it. Here we come full circle back to behaviour. 

If ever there was a time to take this seriously, it is now.

Here are some things for to consider, no matter what Industry you are in, we are all being affected by what is happening.

1. Encourage everyone in your company to connect internally on LinkedIn. This will help you with your "external CRM" network to understand who knows who.

2. Encourage everyone to connect with their existing Clients on LinkedIn, if they are not already doing so. This will give you a much better opportunity to remain front of mind if you have travel restrictions, meeting restrictions etc in place.

3. Moving forward, every single business interaction that happens, be it virtual or in person, encourage everyone to follow up with a thank you and connection on LinkedIn.

4. Wherever the technology solutions you have in place and subject to what level of LinkedIn you have from Free, to Premium, to Sales Navigator, Recruiter, sync this with LinkedIn data, the more connected you become as business across multiple platforms, especially CRM, the more powerful your total network of opportunity becomes.

5. Help your business understand the importance of how to use your marketing materials in an effective way on online. We talk about selling / marketing through your network, not to it. This is only effective of course if you have a relevant network to do this through - hence points 2 and 3.

6. Any physical marketing material you are creating, make sure you are adding the LinkedIn QR code of the author to it, to help drive people to connect with them online.

7. No matter who you are, how senior or junior you are, give people time and patience for them to get to grips with this - if you are with people who are using Teams or Hangouts for the first time, be helpful. If you cannot share screens, if the audio drops in and out - be flexible. Might I suggest all calls/vcs etc are recorded where appropriate so that they can be shared with those that could not make it, both for you and your clients.

I wish all of you good health as we work through this together.

I have a number of YouTube videos where I share some hints and tips for you to consider on getting the best out of LinkedIn - http://bit.ly/2SBiHv1-dlaignite