B-to-B Insights: Face-to-Face
Pinterest. Foursquare. Google+. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. We're so entranced by the possibilities of social networking we risk forgetting the other kind of networking that can work so well—live, in-the-flesh human contact.
Social networking can reach a wider audience by far. But the impact is not as memorable as networking with a prospect face-to-face. Rule of thumb: The closer you can get to the prospect, the better quality the lead. Therefore, you should do both traditional and social networking, and not just the computer kind.
Dive in and Get Noticed
Traditional networking can be difficult for people who, like me, are shy and introverted. When I arrive at the event to find attendees conversing in small circles, I find it difficult to interject myself into their crowd.
My strategy for overcoming my timidity is to do something at the event that automatically makes me the focus of the meeting, so that other people come to me instead of me imposing on them. The two best methods for doing this are being the speaker and sponsoring the meeting.
● Speak Up: When you volunteer to be the speaker for that meeting, your attendance is publicized in advance. You wear a speaker's badge that designates you as special. Attendees gravitate toward you both before the talk and after your presentation. You become the most popular person in the room, eliminating the need to proactively seek out networking prospects.
● Pave the Way With a Sponsorship: If you don't like public speaking, offer to sponsor a meeting. I recently did this for a meeting of the local chapter of the Business Marketing Association (BMA)—a good organization for B-to-B marketers to join—and of which I am a member. If you have a narrow niche market, like many B-to-B marketers do, it makes sense to join the association(s) serving the industry.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.