In the B2B marketplace, good business is built on strong relationships. This is because we buy into the people we are doing business with just as much as the service that they deliver. Face-to-face dialogue, where you shake hands and make eye contact, is arguably the most powerful way to market your business, and that initial conversation could blossom into a business relationship that lasts for years, if not, decades.
Business networking is a significant brand touchpoint, and is often the springboard that helps a prospect start down the buying continuum. How effective a springboard will depend on how aligned it is with your organisation’s other touch points.
When you meet a prospect at a conference or facilitated networking event, you represent your organisation’s brand, and if you make a good impression the prospect will later follow up with some due diligence. But when they come in contact with your organisation’s other touch points, will they feel like they are in contact with the same brand? Is the content on your organisation’s website, LinkedIn profile, Tweets, YouTube videos and blog posts aligned with what you say, and how you say it, in person?
It’s important that your marketing is aligned and integrated across all channels, including business networking, because it shows that your brand has purpose, direction and self-confidence.
Ensure that you communicate your value consistently across your channels. Draw on the human need your product or service solves, and use stories/anecdotes to help demonstrate why they might need you.
Don’t use overly technical jargon. It may make sense internally in your organisation, but more often than not it can sound intimidating and even boring to outsiders. You want to sound like you’re accessible. Again, draw on the human need.
Project the culture and personality of your organisation, it’ll give prospects an insight into the way you work. This will screen out those that perhaps aren’t a good fit with your organisation, and it will signal to the rest that your values align with theirs.
Ask yourself: Are the people in your organisation who are responsible for business development communicating your value proposition effectively? Are they using language that’s accessible to outsiders? Do they project your organisation’s culture? And do your other marketing channels support and reinforce what they say at events and conferences?