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    1. market987 is offline

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      #1

      Business Networking - Is It Better Than Advertising?

      I overheard someone say the other day that business networking can be better than any advertising. I didnt catch much of the conversation but wondered if anyone had any thoughts about that statement.
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    2. Copythat is offline

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      #2
      Well, by definition, a business network is a type of social network of like-minded business people that create or act upon business opportunities. And the arguments for networking are that you are developing relationships of trust and trusted partners make referrals to your business which drives profit. The more people you meet and get to know the more referrals you are going to get. And with the advent of so many social networks on the internet not all of the networking has to be done in person.

      People in favor of networking over advertising say that traditional advertising will take you a lot longer to get to the same place. You cast a very wide net with advertising and get leads to follow up on. They say that by the time you are closing that lead, if you are smart, what you are trying to do is gain a customer for life. You gain their trust by getting to know them and their needs then fulfill them. Sound familiar? Yes, you are basically networking with your customers after they have gone through your marketing funnel.

      Proponents of networking ask, why would you waste so much money advertising to get to know your customers when you can network for a lot cheaper and get to the same place of knowing your customer and gaining their trust. Plus if you are attending networking functions with people in your industry, you already know they are familiar with your business and you can start off on a common ground.
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    3. market987 is offline

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      #3
      I see what you are saying. But it sounds like it might be a tough strategy to employ in my wholesale business because I spend money advertising to my retail customers. Any ideas on how I can apply networking to my business?

    4. Copythat is offline

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      #4
      I hear you and I agree. But think of it this way. Usually people who are buying your goods tend to be enthusiasts of whatever it is they are buying. What if you could find networking opportunities to talk to a whole room full of people who are hyper-buyers of your products. You could talk their ears off about your product and they would listen with rapt attention because it is one of their favorite subjects

    5. market987 is offline

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      #5
      Hmm, you might be right there. But it sounds like a lot of work.

    6. Copythat is offline

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      #6
      LOL, yes, it is a lot of work but sometimes that’s what it takes. Another place I employ networking in my wholesale business is on the buying side when I am looking for suppliers. I go to trade shows and get to know the people who are selling their goods. They introduce me to their friends and so on. Before I know I have met a good handful of people through referrals to suppliers who have great deals. Now I could have advertised for suppliers but we both know how many vultures with shotty goods try to contact you. By the time I weeded through my leads and conducted my due diligence, there is a lot of time, energy and money invested. More in my opinion than going to a networking event.

    7. market987 is offline

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      #7
      Yeah, and with all the social media sites around I guess a lot of the introductions can be made online.

    8. Copythat is offline

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      #8
      Absolutely, have a look at LinkedIn. This is by far one of the best. You can fill out a profile and search for people that also are in your business. Then you just ask then to be in your network. They will see your profile, see that you are in similar businesses, and there you have a new connection. Talk about business and see how you can help each other. Again this works really well with suppliers.

      Then start a Twitter feed and announce your products for sale to the people you just met. Their twitter friends will see you too and your network can expand exponentially.

    9. market987 is offline

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      #9
      Yeah you are right. I can do the same with my Facebook page too I guess.

    10. Copythat is offline

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      #10
      Exactly.

      Now imagine if you were looking for suppliers and you were a woman owned business. Sign up for the woman owned business network and see if there are any suppliers in the network. They could be a real good connection.

      There might be a lot of trial and error. And at the end of the day while you are meeting people inline you might have to ask “what is this really doing for my business?”

      There is perhaps the largest business networking organization in the world called BNI you should look into as well. . It was named in this article as one of the top five places to begin business networking.

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