Statistics say that a prospective client needs to be ‘touched’ 7 times before they will buy from you.
Traditionally these ‘touches’ were achieved by using flyers, newspaper adverts, PR articles, local rags, radio, TV, direct mail, email newsletters, hoardings, bus stops, yellow pages, Thomson local, cold calls … and the list goes on…
Unfortunately you can empty a huge pot of money and still be waiting for these magical 7 ‘touches’ to pay off and seal that deal.
The problem with the above is you are an unknown quantity promoting yourself to an anonymous audience. They probably do not even need what you have to offer right now.
Then along came on line directories where you can at least benefit from the recommendations of others.
Now social media is here to add to the ways in which to reach your audience. This avenue creates a following or ‘Tribes’ as Seth Godin describes. This allows your prospects to get to know you a little better and to spread the word amongst their followers too. This works much better as it fast tracks these ‘touches’. It is particularly powerful for internet based businesses who are looking at a global audience.
However if you are looking for more localized business then I am absolutely adamant that the most effective way to speed this up, and dare I say reduce the statistical ‘7 touches’, is through business networking.
If an individual expresses the need for a product of service to a trusted contact and they highlight you as the person best able to deliver then it does not matter whether they have been touched once, twice or never. You will undoubtedly get an opportunity to at least discuss their needs. It is not a guarantee of the business that depends on a number of other things. You can, however, have confidence that you are spending your time with a genuine prospect who has a level of confidence and trust in you that no amount of the above can match.
Networking takes time and energy so it is important to do your research and find an organization that has the right caliber of membership. Professionals that operate in a similar arena to you who will have the type of contacts you would like to do business with and most importantly are committed and willing to help and promote each other.
My recommendation for exposing yourself in the right places is to take this list in reverse order and start by engaging in the right kind of business networking, definitely add to that all aspects of social media – after all you are probably reading this on my blog right now. Then mix in a couple of the first, more traditional, ways. Measuring the results is key, but do remember that the results from networking and social media will consistently grow where as many of the initial ways to ‘touch’ a prospect are a one hit wonder.
Enjoy your networking but do keep your clothes on!