How to Build Profitable Networking Relationships (Online and Offline)
Have you noticed not all website traffic is the same? The traffic you get from referral sites is different from the traffic you get from social media, and that’s different than the traffic you get from organic search, pay-per-click and so on.
Similarly, in real life, the types of people you meet at networking functions are different. There are the tire-kickers, the ready-to-buy, the folks in power, the folks looking to hook-up with the folks in power, the exhibitors, the unemployed and so on. So don’t consider all traffic or all audiences the same. When you go to a networking event, be sure you prepare accordingly.
In online communities, it’s very much the same. There’s something called the 90-9-1 rule. At any given time (and this has been shown to be true since before the days of AOL and Prodigy) only about 1% of any group of people online will be an active contributor. These people are not always the same 1%, it cycles. But if you have an audience of 1,000 people, then expect that only 10 of them will contribute with any regularity, and at least 90 of them will be infrequent users.
So if only 10% of an online community is going to take any action, then it becomes important to identify and establish relationships with the type of online influencers that can talk about your products and services in the most effective way possible.
Jade Craven has done an effective job of describing the five types of people you need to get to know that will best help sell and promote your products and services. The five types she describes are:
Different types of people (and traffic) will affect your business in different ways. Be ready to receive that traffic and respond to it appropriately. When networking with others, ask yourself if the people you talk to fit into the above categories, or consider creating new categories that might make sense for your business. Consider also, what value you can provide to them as well, as mutually beneficial relationships have the most power for your business.