Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sales and networking face-off - what works better for you?

At the Chamber, we are all about helping your business increasing your sales and helping Lehigh Valley professionals network with one another.  That being said, there are many different types of ways that individuals network and try to gain sales.  Three stick out the most to me: face-to-face meetings, phone contact and electronic (E-mail and Social Media).  All have different strengths and weaknesses - here's a brief look at what works best for some and why:

Face-to-face networking:


Pros:

  • Make the strongest impact - people are much more likely to remember you in person than networking otherwise.
  • Allow you the most flexibility when it comes to talking to someone - you can read someone's expressions & body language in a way that's simply impossible otherwise.
  • Easiest way to build a long-term relationship with someone.

Cons:

  • Time inefficient, especially compared to other methods.
  • Can be difficult if you are shy or not a "people-person."
Phone:

Pros:
  • A happy medium between face-to-face and electronic.
  • Relatively time efficient.  
  • Phone numbers aren't too hard to get.

Cons:
  • These days, everyone is busy - who likes to be bothered on the phone?
  • Can be difficult to find the right contact-person who is a decision maker.
  • A gate-keeper, like an administrator, can keep you from talking to the person you are trying to reach.

Electronic:

Pros:
  • VERY time efficient - allows for mass contact that simply cannot be replicated.
  • Allows for creativity in graphics & messaging that isn't possible otherwise.
  • Allows for obtaining information that isn't possible to get otherwise (if you ever really spend time looking at someone's Facebook or LinkedIn profile, you know this - you can get tons of information that isn't otherwise accessible!).
Cons:
  • Your message can be easily ignored or dismissed as spam.
  • Not nearly as impactful as a face-to-face meeting or phone call.
  • Requires a great deal of effort, segmentation and potentially cost to be effective.

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