One of the tried and true ways of getting IT sales leads is networking. It helps prospects remember who you are, and what you do. You can earn word-of-mouth referrals with networking and build business relationships. The more people you meet who have an understanding of your products and services, the larger your pool of quality referrals.
Networking is a give-and-take type of marketing strategy in which professionals help promote one another. It’s based on building rapport and connections between B2B companies. Networking is an invaluable marketing tool for developing new contacts and sales.
Set Your Marketing Goals
Set goals for your network marketing just like you do with your other marketing strategies. This doesn’t mean setting unclear goals like “talking to other business people.”
You want to develop measurable goals, such as:
- A specific number of new IT sales leads or referrals every month
- Locking down press coverage in two places every month
- Getting X number of customers through word-of-mouth every month
- The amount of time you want to spend networking each month
Did you know that 91 percent of B2B purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth referrals?
Get Started with Networking
The first step is to make a list of all the networking organizations in your area. What businesses do they attract? What sets them apart?
Here are some active steps for lucrative networking:
- Ask your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of business networking organization and check out each one.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce
- Join professional dinner clubs to discuss business
- Host open houses and networking parties
- Volunteer at town or city activities
- Join professional MSP industry organizations
Tips for Effective Networking
Like the fundamentals of inbound marketing, networking is about building B2B relationships. Here are a few tips for understanding the basics of networking:
- Focus on exchanging helpful information, not asking for referrals.
- Identify your opportunities for helping others meet their needs and don’t try to sell. You want people to benefit from your engagements.
- Listen to other business people. This way you’ll learn about emerging industry trends more quickly. It’s amazing what you can learn by listening.
After the Networking Event
After attending a networking activity, keep a log of the contacts you made and the date of the meeting. Also, make a note of the key points you learned and the suggestions made by each contact.
Remember that networking doesn’t stop once you make a few contacts and referrals. The MSP industry is always changing with new products and services. You need to network regularly to help your business grow and stay competitive.
Invest your effort into maintaining your network to anticipate business needs and respond to opportunities. A good way to keep in touch with your contacts is to send them informative content to help them grow their own businesses. Most of them will reciprocate.
Ready, Set, Network
Networking works if you put in the time to work it. Always approach it with constant enthusiasm. Waiting for people to approach you will not win you referrals. Instead, start conversations and show genuine interest in other businesses. If you help other members, referrals will come back to you.
The time you spend planning and researching your networking events in your area will grow your IT sales leads and conversions.