Looking for leads. Skip the phone? Skip the lunches? Get online?

My spin: Traditional sales persons rely on the tried and true sales technique of word of mouth, lunches, coffees, frequent networking at meetings and etc. However, there’s a growing number of companies who offer online networking environments. Many are for dating, finding a mate and etc. But there’s many that are more business oriented. Personally I’ve been a part of Ryze and am an active participant of Fast Company Magazine’s Company of Friends.
These networks enable you to reach more people in less time. Just like with offline networking it does take time to establish trust, to get to know people and etc. Can this ever replace the dynamic of a good handshake? No. Can this be an additional opportunity for sales leads and business development – you BET!
A recent News Factor article reads: It was only a matter of time before software companies would pick up on Friendster.com’s amazing success story. Since its founding in May, the site has attracted millions of users and scored serious notice in the press.
Such companies as Spoke Software, Contact Network Corporation, Visible Path, LinkedIn.com, Interface Software and Pinpoint Selling have launched Web sites and/or software tools based on some variation of the Friendster premise, which is to build on relationships — starting with one’s own contacts and spreading outward to include their contacts, and their contacts’ contacts, and so on — to find a date or friend or running partner or like-minded political junkie or, a best-case outcome for some, all four.
(full story)