With the invention of the internet, the way we did business changed almost immediately. New doors opened when it came to online media, the creation of websites, ecommerce and other technologies. During this progression, business owners found new ways to market their business. However, during this process, many forgot the traditional marketing methods that paved the way. Human interaction has become almost extinct when it comes to traditional networking efforts. Many companies are simply relying on their website, blogs and online social media outlets to get them the exposure they need. This can be a downfall to many companies. As a society built on all this technology, we still crave human interaction.
Think about how many times you call a business and you get the dreaded automated system. You have to press one for this, press 2 for that, and then press 4 to get here. By the time you’ve pressed 5 or 6 buttons, you’re still no closing to getting the answer you’re looking for. You sit there and think, “I wish I could just speak to a live person!”
Face-to-face networking is a powerful marketing tool that can set your business a part from all the rest. It makes a statement in this technologically advanced era that your company still place value on human interaction. Networking can occur in various places and in various ways:
- Events and Functions are a great place to network with others who may need to take advantage of your products and services.
- Events pertaining to your niche market are also great ways to network with those who are in your industry. These are great opportunities to get connected with like minded individuals who can answer questions you may have or they just become a brainstorming platform.
- Community and charity events are also great places to not only give back to your community or to a deserving cause but you can also build valuable connections through these events. In addition, your business gets a boost from being viewed as a charitable organization.
Remember, networking takes two, so don’t be abrasive in your approach. You don’t have t be a walking billboard to network and get your message out. A simple technique is by carrying a small amount of business cards with you where ever you go. You may meet a great connection and while your conversation may have nothing to do with your work, giving them your card before you go not only gives them your contact information but makes them aware of your business.
Networking is having a conversation. So if you know how to talk then you can learn to network. Granted not everyone you meet will be a potential client or sounding board but they will be a contact for your business that could come in handy at some point in time. Someone once said that “there is never a bad contact but all contacts are information obtained for now or for later.”
Face-to-face networking is a vital component to doing business and a powerful marketing tool that not everyone takes advantage of. So this can be the one thing that sets you apart from your competition.