We hear so much about how technology is revolutionizing communication—and that is undoubtedly true: from social to mobile, consumers and corporate buyers have unprecedented access to information about brands and products. What is often left out of the conversation, however, is the importance of tried-and-true tactics like face-to-face meetings, professional networking and referrals.
With the rise in technology and access to information, “information overload” naturally follows. I think anyone can relate to the struggle of wading through hundreds, if not thousands, of emails a day—how can you ensure that your target recipient actually notices, opens and reads your message…and then takes the action you want them to?
One surefire way to get your message noticed is to build a personal relationship with the influencer or decision maker you’re looking to reach. It’s human nature to prioritize our relationships—and that translates to opening an email once you recognize the sender’s name or company. That’s where events, networking and professional referral relationships come into play.
• Industry and Association Events. Nearly every industry has a professional organization or association that can present opportunities for networking. Plan to join, and then be on the lookout for larger events like tradeshows, where you can get the “lay of the land” pretty quickly—making a short list of the major brands, the most respected peers, the thought leaders, etc. This can inform the pool of influencers you should aim to connect with.
• Networking events and opportunities. Once you have a better understanding of the major players and their particular strengths and interests, the next step is to meet and engage with them. Smaller events, such as lunch and learns, roundtables and committees, offer a more intimate setting for one on one conversations and relationship building.
• Professional referrals. The most major players and influencers generally present the biggest challenge in terms of setting up face-to-face meetings and building relationships—you want to meet with them, and so does everyone else. Exploring professional referral events, like those offered by Professional Social Networking Group, will introduce you to a new pool of influencers who are looking to make contacts in your field.
Jeff Tockman is a business consultant who helps his clients use professional networking and referral relationships more effectively to grow their bottom line. Contact him if you would like to learn more about how he can run a seminar, workshop or weekly training session for your business development team. 561.755.7764, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.PSNG.org