B-to-B Insights: Face-to-Face
Instead, make yourself a helpful resource. If you hear someone say he's in need of a Web developer, recommend one or two good ones you know. Doing so begins to build a relationship where you are perceived as a valued resource.
The prospect may not have an immediate need for your product or service. But by consistently being there as someone to go to for help, the prospect is likely to call you first when a need for your type of product or service comes up.
Before accepting an invitation to attend a meeting, qualify the event by finding out who will be in attendance. Are they your potential customers? If not, attending the meeting may be a waste of time for you as far as networking is concerned.
The prospect may talk about a subject on which you have whitepapers, brochures or other documentation. Offer to send this material. So as not to lose track of who gets what, write down the items you want to send the prospect on her business card.
At a recent meeting of a marketing club, I met the marketing manager of a large, local high-tech manufacturer. During our conversation, he casually mentioned the company had an active blog, and was having trouble keeping up with the demand for fresh content.
I asked him a few questions about length, content and frequency of the blog posts. We then exchanged business cards, and I followed up with him by email about a week after the meeting. The company decided to do the blog posts in-house, but I am on the marketing manager's radar for other copywriting projects that come up.
It also is a good idea to ask prospects you meet, "May I add you to my e-zine subscriber list?" Most will say yes, and you now have permission to email them, though you shouldn't abuse the privilege. If you publish your e-zine monthly, that means the prospect will hear from you at least 12 times a year.
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.