Future of Marketing and Sales: Facilitating and Monetizing Conversations – Part 3

Networking is an important business activity. It provides opportunities for meeting prospective clients, exchanging information and gaining technical tips. If you choose one area to focus on to impact the growth of your business it should be networking.

Doing excellent work is expected today, but it will no longer keep you in business. You must expose people to the services you provide and create a continuous flow of new opportunities. Networking is one of the best ways to accomplish this – it is a comfortable way to open doors to new opportunities.

Networking events can increase your visibility as well as help you stay abreast of industry trends. And even more important for entrepreneurs is, it can do away with cold calls. Cold calling is one of the most uncomfortable ways to build a business and is considered the number one reason for “prospecting reluctance.” By networking you can make connections and create an atmosphere that is warmer, more authentic and friendlier than cold calling.

Once you have met someone at a networking event, you will often set up a meeting to get together and learn about each other. Having conversations with people helps you to build trust, discover opportunities or get a referral to someone that may need your help.

But today we live in a new reality and networking events are not taking place. As a business leader you must adapt to this new reality. On-line networking provides a great alternative, and surprisingly, virtual networking can forge strong ties quicker than face-to-face networking. It is vitally important that we embrace new tools to connect with colleagues by leveraging technology, appreciate the value of social capital, and interact with one another online.

Today, creating and maintaining virtual relationships is fundamental to creating business success. On-line networking is the art of using social networks to find and connect with sales prospects. And very much like attending an in-person networking event, the use of social media tools avoids interrupting an individual with a cold call.

Among all the social networks – LinkedIn has proven itself as the most powerful platform to use for business. LinkedIn recently published these stats:

  • Sellers using LinkedIn created 45% more sales opportunities
  • 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media

Savvy salespeople are embracing the connected world and are increasingly using LinkedIn as a primary source for new leads. According to LinkedIn:

  • 722 million users make it the largest network of business professionals in the world
  • Around 90 million users are classified as senior – level influencers
  • 50% of B2B buyers base their purchase decisions on LinkedIn information
  • 76% of B2B buyers trust recommendations from their professional network

Networking has gone on-line and LinkedIn allows you to use many of the same skills used at networking events. Like a networking event, you must understand that networking is not selling, it is for establishing an initial relationship. You will cultivate these relationships by asking your connections what you can do for them and then moving the conversation off-line.

Our advice is to move your networking online today.


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