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Before Jonathan Kranz's wonderful post, "WOM Is Not SOB" goes cold here at Marketing Profs Daily Fix, I want to tag along on its shirttails....


As Jonathan says: Word of Mouth (WOM) doesn't just happen. It is a marketing tool that needs to be launched, executed upon and managed. Furthermore, it is a tool that every member of your business should be trained to use, especially those employees who touch customers in any way.
Because so many of you provide B2B products and services, you may struggle employing WOM effectively. One of the best ways, I believe, for you to invest in WOM is through Networking. If you currently do not network at least once a week, I am confident declaring that you are not maximizing your business growth opportunities.
Networking is a marketing tool, and like all marketing tools it requires careful planning. Unfortunately, too many networkers do not get it. Networking is not about selling something; it is about building relationships based on respect, trust and credibility. When such a relationship occurs, a referral or a sale is more likely to occur
Here are some recommendations for including Networking in your marketing mix.
To increase your chances of networking success, here are a few tips:
1.
Check out a variety of networking groups and associations before joining any.
2.
Join those that best fit your personality and your relationship-building style.
3.
Get involved in some official capacity to increase your visibility.
4.
Attend every meeting that you can. Be present to the opportunity
5.
Be open to helping others in whatever ways you can. When we give, we also get.
6.
Listen much more than you speak.
7.
Be prepared with a concise and clear unique selling position that you can share in a sentence or two.
8.
Don't sell, don't sell, and don't sell.
And here are reasons why you should (must) invest in Networking:
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People like to do business with people they know and like.
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People like to do business with people they get along with.
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And people like to do business with people they know can and will do the job right.
Networking results in leads, referrals and sales. Why? Because Networking produces:
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Increased visibility
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Increased familiarity
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Increased credibility
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Increased trust
Finally, here are a few places I encourage you and your employees to network:
1. Chambers of Commerce
2. Professional Groups in your field
3. Professional Groups outside your field .... Choose only groups containing your target market.
4. Leads or Networking Groups
The key point to remember: Networking is about building relationships based on trust and credibility.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, (http://www.l-gsolutions.com) brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.