January 22, 2010

Does Networking Play An Important Role in Getting Clients?

Social Networking should certainly help you and your business obtain new clients. In a recent answer I posted regarding Cold Calling vs. Social Networking I cited the following statistics:

Cold Calling Results
Outbound calls made 325
Meaningful conversations (pitches) and brand touches 80
Meetings made 4
Sales made (as a direct result of cold calling) 0
These are average conversion ratios for time spent but it comes with much overhead.

Social Media Results
Inbound calls generated 8
Meetings as result of inbound calls 3
Sales as a result of inbound calls 2
Brand touches (from site statistics unique views of content) 422
Visitors to sales associate's blog Subscribers (RSS) to sales associate's content 27
People following sales associate's Twitter 12
New contacts 71 (on LinkedIn, Facebook, WeCanDo.BIZ, etc)
Listeners to sales associate's Podcast 83
Opportunities to sell found 21
Online conversations had 39
Warm call list (names generated expecting a call) 11

The cost of the social networking blitz to find new business opportunities, other than time and internet connection are small, if anything at all. Most importantly 2 sales were closed, covering any cost associated with the activity and generating a very healthy return.
...If you are not getting results from social networking, you need to adjust how you network. Here are five tips to help you do just that:
  1. You Should Always Network In The Right Forums. If your networking objective is to get clients, you should network in social networking communities that your potential clients frequent.
  2. Network On A Regular Basis. If you are only networking when you need to get clients, you are wasting your time. Networking is not a one-time action; rather, it is a process of having others get to know you and building relationships with them. You need to use online social networks continuously to raise your online visibility and develop relationships with others.
  3. Network, Don’t Sell. A business owner told me once “I keep posting about my business on every social network every chance I get, but have no takers.” This person is not really networking. Rather, he is selling his products and services instead of building relationships. Networking is about creating awareness for your products, not blatantly advertising them.
  4. Provide Information About Your Business. While some people try to sell their products more then they should, there are others who don’t tell people anything about their business when networking online. Remember, if people you are networking with have no way of learning more about you your business, they will not be able to do business with you. How do you let others know about your business? Use a signature at the end of every message you post when networking online. Make sure your signature contains some information about your business and a link to your web site, so that everyone reading your posts can learn more about you and your business.
  5. Invite Others To Subscribe To Your Newsletter. The best way to continue building relationships with people you meet on social networks is to ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. Use your signature when you are networking online to invite people reading your message to subscribe to your newsletter. When they do, you can continue building relationships even if you or they stop networking on the forum altogether.

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