In a digital world, offline sales is still crucial for business development. As a business, you can’t rely on web leads exclusively. You need to go out into the community, network, and build relationships. But there are so many opportunities and avenues to explore. So where to start?
Join a Networking Group
There are several networking groups and events such as Meetup and local chapters of BNI. These are great opportunities to rub elbows with other business owners, prospect for potential leads, and do some word-of-mouth marketing. As with anything else, you only get out of it what you put into it. If you’re not committed to regular attendance of meetings and events, it will be a wasted effort.
Join a Local Chamber of Commerce
Pretty much every city in Miami-Dade and Broward County have local chambers of commerce. We’re here in Coconut Grove, so that chamber would be the most convenient for us. But you should consider joining the chamber most convenient for you.
What’s the benefit? Again, other business people are members of these organizations, they often list your business in their membership directory, and they host regular events for their members.
Schedule Meetings with Potential Clients
Even if you might not get a new account from this effort immediately, it could pay off in the long term. For the travel industry, for example, you might schedule meetings with local hotels to see their property, and learn more about how they do sales and marketing. This is an opportunity to potentially gain new business, and also to earn referrals.
Every time you meet someone new, one of the first questions they ask is what you do for a living. This is a great opportunity to hand out your business card. It’s a good idea to always keep a few on you. In a pinch, you can always ask for theirs. You would be surprised how often people save these cards in their car, in a drawer, or on their desk, and end up calling you in the future. And with so many inexpensive printing options, there’s really no reason NOT to have cards.
Don’t Try too Hard
Don’t always be selling. Listen to people, and ask questions. Find out how you can help them. Anecdotally, just the other day, I was having lunch near the office, ran into a friend of mine, and through conversation found out he needed some design work. It was too late to help at that time, but if he had known about Figment sooner, maybe he would have hired us.
Digital marketing is very important to growing your business. But don’t discount offline marketing as well. Make sure to get out there and make yourself known in the community. It might just pay off.