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B2B Relationships Bring Quality Referrals

by / Friday, 13 January 2012 / Published in Marketing Tips

In a post-boom market like the current one, it’s essential to engage in high quality business-to-business marketing.

B2B Referrals Can Produce the Highest Quality Leads

You may ask yourself, “What’s the most important use of my marketing time and efforts when business is slow: internet marketing/social media, or hitting the streets for some good olde fashioned relationship farming and business-to-business networking?

Unfortunately our answer is the somewhat confusing “Yes, and yes.”

The long and short of it is that both of these activities are necessary in the new service marketplace. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is that too many business owners are so caught up in the learning curves and constant changes of the social media landscape that they are neglecting the time that should be spent in building strong relationships with fellow businesses.

Why are B2B referrals so necessary? Because, as Brad Finkelstein said in a recent issue of the Origination News,

Statistics have shown that B2B relationships can supplement the costs of more traditional forms of advertising since referrals are highly qualified and likely to be interested in your product or service…

AND

In troubled times, people with a wide and deep network have a team of people to tap into for support. This is what gets their business through tough times.

What is B2B Relationship Building

1) Building a relationship requires face-time. So relationship building must be at least partially off-line and in person. Try your chambers of commerce, meet-up groups and community organizations. Schedule appointments at coffee shops, book stores or in another public forum that suits your needs.

2) Building a relationship requires strong listening skills. Make a lasting impression on other business owners by showing a deep and genuine interest in them instead of by boring them with a non-stop sales pitch of yourself and your own services.

3) Building a relationship requires on-going contact. Not the “I added you to my mailing list” sort of contact, but a call, text message, or private facebook chat that contains the personal touch of exclusivity and demonstrates again your interest in the other person’s life. Forget click-through rates and measurable metrics here.

4) Send referrals whenever appropriate and beneficial to both parties. Make sure that you understand about the concept of “give and take.”

Where to Find the Time

No one else can be the actual face of your business better than you can. Forming a relationship vicariously is nearly impossible to accomplish. So since you can’t hire someone to pose as you at the weekly/monthly business networking events, you might need to see where you could delegate the items that tie you up and suck away your time.

What can you delegate?

1) Social media. If you’re not an expert already, do you really want to become one? Consult with someone who can help you design a plan, implement the plan and maintain the plan. Did you even know that your social media can be consolidated and set to auto-publish for as far ahead as you would like?

2) Newsletters. Copywriting is an art, and for many, a downright chore. If this has become a time-drain for you, it’s a great thing to outsource or delegate.

3) Any task that takes more time from you than the value it produces. Preparing your own taxes, organizing your office space, sending out birthday and thank you cards, the list is potentially endless.

The new virtual marketing opportunities are a great complement to pounding the pavement and picking up the phone, but they can’t replace them. While print marketing may be nearly dead, relationships are still very much alive and necessary. Don’t neglect your business networking. Put it back on your schedule today!

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