Reputation management and brand building are all about relationships: making connections, finding common ground, discovering areas of mutual interest, and offering support and encouragement. While online relationship building certainly has its place in today’s digital world, nothing beats a face-to-face encounter and in-person networking for finding kindred souls and fostering a relationship of long-term, common interests.
As if running your own business wasn’t difficult enough already, here I am challenging you to blend two worlds and audiences: online, digital, and web-based with offline, personal, and in-person.
So, why would I even make you think about this, much less ask you to take action to build in-person relationships? Do I enjoy torturing you? Not at all, but think about this…
In-person networking builds stronger online relationships
If we were to meet on the internet, through one of our websites or social media say, and strike up an online relationship that has value and interest to each of us, then taking that relationship offline is going to enhance it and make it grow. Once we meet in a face-to-face encounter, staying connected online will enrich and improve our relationship, until such time we are able to meet in person again. This dual-role relationship will enhance both our reputations, with each other as well as anyone we refer, and will also help to build our brand recognition.
Of course, any type of relationship CAN do those things but, the more personal the relationship, the more likely it is that these things will happen – because we are personally invested in each other’s success.
A relationship that begins with a face-to-face encounter, and that grows over time, is far more likely to lead to referrals: business partners, affiliates, JV’s, getting new clients, and will be recognized by others. The value of such a relationship simply cannot be overestimated.
If you’re not sure I’m on the right track here, consider the value of in-person networking, as shared by Deborah Shane at Careerealism.com:
- “The power of personally connecting and human interaction accelerates relationship building. In 10 minutes I can know more about someone, or they about me, in person than in 6 months online!”
- “Finding commonality and common ground comes from having a conversation or discussion on the phone or in person. The energy that passes between people finding out that they have a hobby, favorite book, peer or life experience in common can be profound.”
- “Making decisions on what the next step is and putting the plan in motion can happen in one minute on the phone or in person, as opposed to multiple e-mails.”
Sure, in-person networking will require a bit more effort on your part, and on the part of others but, in the long run, face-to-face business interactions and in-person networking help you build stronger, more productive, and more mutually beneficial business relationships; wherever they may take place.
Need help with building your brand and figuring out the best marketing strategy for your coaching niche? Get in touch with me today.