Why Networking Has Got A Limited Shelf Life
There’s nothing quite like putting a face to a name and meeting business decision-makers in person – at a tradeshow, conference, or networking event. In many cases, more can be achieved in a few minutes, with a deeper and more lasting level of understanding, then it can with months of back-and-forth emails and phone calls. However, when you make face-to-face leads through networking it’s important to act fast, as networking has got a limited shelf life.
Why? Because people are busy and they have short memories.
It’s easy to forget the details of conversations when you might have met dozens of people at a conference. And from your perspective, as the person doing the selling, it’s very easy to overestimate the impact you made on the people you spoke to. People are polite, they make the right noises and say the right things, and then they walk away. You may not have had their full attention. Your networking leads may not be as ‘hot’ as you think they are, and even if they are at the time, can you be sure they will still be as keen this time next week? Whose business card is that again?
What about online networking?
Online networking events have grown in popularity over the past few years, with LinkedIn becoming the online networking platform for B2B sales. LinkedIn provides an open and varied platform for communication, thought leadership, promotions, collaboration, and sales – ticking all the boxes of traditional networking, without the uncertainties of human memory.
Unlike in-person networking, LinkedIn interactions leave a digital audit trail that reinforces the relationship and enables a systematic approach to lead generation and relationship building. Much of the informal social atmosphere of a networking event can be captured through one of LinkedIn’s many industry-specific groups, for instance, enabling you to cultivate common ground between youself and your prospects.
At the same time, LinkedIn allows a range of highly targeted advertising approaches that put your content and messages in front of very specific audiences, and even send emails (called InMails) directly to a prospect’s mailbox.
Best of all, everything you do on LinkedIn can be recorded, monitored, and analysed, so you know exactly what you’ve spent, where your leads have come from, who said what, and where a person is in the sales funnel.
What is the alternative to networking?
Inbound marketing offers businesses an Internet-based alternative to traditional in-person sales with all the personal relationship building advantages that make networking popular. Contrary to misconception, there is nothing impersonal or faceless about digital marketing. If anything, digital marketing allows greater person-to-person contact, and more in-depth communication than was possible when sales depended solely on short, difficult to arrange meetings.
Engaging with social media marketing, advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn, and developing your online profile through high-value content marketing assets, email marketing, and search engine advertising, will strengthen your market position more than networking alone ever could.
A complete marketing system for small businesses
At JDR, we provide a proven small business marketing system designed to attract new leads, build business relationships, and create profitable, ongoing partnerships between you and your customers.
Traditional business networking events still have an important place, and many business owners enjoy this aspect of sales, but for the best results we combine a range of digital marketing and sales strategies to provide maximum returns with the best value for money.
So, if you want to find out more about how to get more leads and how to get more customers in 2022, please give one of our digital marketing specialists a call today on 01332343281 and we can put in place a customer-focused plan that works for your business and your industry.
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