Networking is Direct Marketing

By Chuck Sink | August 8, 2023

Networking and Direct Marketing may be thought of as completely different areas of business but when you marry them together, magic happens.

There’s a craving for authentic human interactions in business dealings. I know this because I still hear the (long post-Covid) sighs of relief whenever I’m at an in-person networking event or business meeting. People are glad to connect closely and nurture their relationships in a deep and enduring way again. Of course, there are those who prefer the semi-anonymity of occupying a controlled camera view on a screen, the safety of mute, and the convenience of staying put.

Take Your Pulse!

Intentional business networking is a skill that no software or AI can replace or enhance in any meaningful way. It takes you and you alone to make networking an effective part of your marketing mix. Should you ever lose sight of this fact, it will likely stem from a lack of curiosity, a desire to “have it now,” and most regrettably, a fading interest in serving others face to face.

Principles, Not Reverse Psychology

Networking is all about listening to others and serving them while expecting nothing in return. And get this. You might go to a few networking events, say and do all the right things, and not get a single direct sale out of the effort. And if you conclude that it was a waste of your time, then you weren’t really listening to anybody there, especially the influencers.

Do I sound like a Pollyanna or a dreamer, or does this principle make sense?

We were created to serve one another, not exploit our gifts. The instinctual goodwill of others proves this over and over again. Think about all the helping hands throughout your life, and all the times you’ve come to the aid of others, especially when they really needed a hand.

The networking groups in which I participate welcome people in all sorts of roles. We actively look for opportunities to do business or refer business to people we get to know in our groups.

Your Networking Strategy

Clearly, it’s important to join the organizations where you’ll find clients, suppliers, and influencers in your industry. The more you participate in the events, the more influence you’ll have, and the better people will know you. Perhaps you will even join the leadership to help steer those organizations.

BNI, Chambers, Trade Associations, Professional Associations including local chapters, service organizations, private groups… the list of networking opportunities is long for just about every profession.

Go to events prepared to learn and put a stopper in your mouth except for asking good questions. Then listen with both ears and take an interest in others’ experiences. Relax and you’ll be asked about your business too. Make it all about your customers, not your company.

When you have a valuable message that’s relevant to clients of your industry, those people will want to hear it and likely will spread the word. If you sell professional services, networking provides your first and best opportunity to succeed. This is because when you start out in sales or start up a new business, you cannot get far without having relationships in the market. Robust networking is the fast track to building relationships.

Grow and Protect Your Organic Audience

Let your direct marketing have the power of an actual human relationship behind it. When people know that it’s really you who are writing and sending them content, then you have just distinguished yourself among all the spammy players out there.

The best potential marketing leads in your sales database are the people you’ve met personally through networking and direct selling efforts. You’ve opened a conversation with them, and you were given their contact info. Treat it like gold. When you reach out to them, put some relevance and meaning into the message and you could experience immediate results. And don’t we all want results?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *