Are Word Of Mouth Referrals Still The Strongest
Way To Get Business Leads?
Definitely! So Why Consider Other Paid Marketing Options?
Article by Mark Elliott – Founder, Sparks4Growth Ltd.
It is a question that has arisen in a raft of conversations I have had with businesses owners, charities and other organisations.
There is no doubt in my view that nothing is more powerful to strike up business relationships and engender trust than meeting face to face or via a referral. That could be at a conference, a networking event, general meeting etc. Then being endorsed, recommended or referred by trusted person(s) is simply the icing on the cake.
So why do I and my business work on a LinkedIn Managed Service and recommend it to other businesses, even offering a Managed Service. Isn’t there a risk of people being ‘spammed’ by messages?
Saving time and money, do more business online
The sole, greatest barrier to doing more business is time or lack thereof. People buy from people particularly in B2B. Although e-commerce is highly effective for many products/services, the minute the product gets complex or high investment there is a need for personal interaction, trust building and so on.
Many companies facing this dilemma deploy marketing and sales tactics that are tried and tested e.g. telesales, exhibitions, events, email and so on. Increasingly also creating content, blogs, downloadable information. All good stuff!
But some of these channels are heavy in both costs and cost of time/resources. The ROI often isn’t justified, the timing is down to ‘when we try to contact a customer’ (rather than when a customer may be ready) and this is where I have found LinkedIn fits.
Helping your business contacts reach you, when THEY are ready to do so.
So with LinkedIn, I can reach out to new connections, maintain relationships and dialogue with people I have met and meet or be introduced to people they know. I can also reach out to their connections (2nd degree connections) without paying out for “Sales Navigator” introduce myself, start to strike up a conversation.
The connection request is sent, picked up when the recipient is ready and they can choose to (or not) to connect, respond etc. When they are ready.
To me being contacted this way on LinkedIn is even less intrusive than meeting face to face at say a conference, trying to hold interest with one another on 1st meeting and then awkwardly (perhaps thats just me) try to work out ‘next steps’. Its all too rushed and pressured.
I haven’t had to book train travel, stay in a hotel, lose half of my day when I could be delivering for clients or wasted anyones time (apart from 10 seconds to read a ‘hi can we connect’ request). So the financial side of using LinkedIn is there too.
Most importantly people still buy from people, just in a different way.
Systematically contacting and networking on LinkedIn has proved an invaluable way to do business for me and our clients. I recommend it, accept that not everyone wants to connect or talk ‘right now’ but I always hope that at some point my initial ‘Can we connect’ message leads somewhere…not always sales related but perhaps giving help, advice, introducing people…
This approach allows people to consider your approach, build a form of online relationship and in time meet either by phone, Skype or face to face.
Articles and video about business selling online using LinkedIn Managed Service
I wrote a series of articles and videos on this subject, I hope you get a chance to read/view and if you like, please say ‘Hi’….after all its great to network so why be a stranger?