The most successful and experienced marketers understand a basic truth: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Just a century ago, salesmen were grappling with the idea of integrating the new-fangled telephone into their marketing strategies. Today, that challenge is focused on how to effectively marry proven concepts with digital marketing.

Networking on Steroids

Throughout these changes, nothing has proven more effective and efficient than one-on-one networking. When you meet someone in person and have the opportunity to discuss your mutual needs and expectations, a lot of the standard clutter of the sales funnel melts away.

In fact, rather than eliminating the need for a business card and personal networking, digital and social media make these traditional tools more efficient than ever. True, some very narrow niche markets work totally online with no personal contact, but that is not the case for building long-term success in most traditional B2B market segments.

If you want to make the most of combining both outbound and newer digital marketing tools and techniques, consider these 6 ways networking increases conversion:

  1. Separating Spin from Substance. Today’s digital world allows even the smallest one-person operation present slick and sophisticated marketing materials designed by third-parties. Meeting a company representative in person lets you know in seconds whether they are real players or not.
  2. Speeding up the Sales Cycle. Instead of developing a digital conversation that dances through the nuances of qualifying and nurturing, you can get right to the bottom line of what a potential customer needs and expects, allowing you to decide if this is a lead worth pursuing.
  3. Spotting Trends and New Developments. You’ll find that individuals at trade shows and seminars will often loosen up and speak about things you simply won’t get from web pages and emails. You can observe both customers and competitors in an environment that provides valuable insights that can be applied to your firm’s strategy and tactics.
  4. Securing a Favored Position. The simple fact is that the vast majority of people prefer to deal with other people, not just anonymous individuals behind an email address. When you’ve shared a few moments over a cup of coffee or exchanged a business card with a handshake, your follow-up contact will spark a process of recognition you can’t gain any other way.
  5. Setting Expectations and Priorities. When you take time to engage personally with an individual, you have the ability to set expectations for deliverables in future calls and contacts. Once that social contract is established, you are miles ahead of that unknown competitor who is just a contact on LinkedIn or other digital media.
  6. Selling Yourself, not just Your Product or Service. One of the most important reasons networking drives conversions remains the same as it has been for centuries. Breaking through the clutter and anonymity of today’s online marketing efforts with that personal contact gives your customer an added degree of comfort and security.

Putting a face with a name and establishing a relationship with a handshake remains a very effective qualifier for a business – a smark marketer understands the value in using a combination of online and offline marketing efforts to capture attention and drive business growth.

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