Winter is here and for most of the population that means holiday season preparations have begun. For the adult industry that also means the convention season is rapidly approaching. As an affiliate manager, my attention will be focused on getting materials together for any advertising done at the shows and setting up meetings with existing and potential affiliates and business partners.
Rubbing elbows with business contacts is a part of many industries but with so much of the business in adult done remotely these events are often the only time we sit down face to face with our contacts. Meetings at shows are great and indeed valuable but networking with contacts doesn’t have to wait for the shows. What is done away from the shows is as important if not more so because not only does it keep you in the mind of those that you met at shows but deploying them in the right ways will allow you to form a bond with the base of contacts who never make it to shows.
Enjoying moments of whimsy together on boards is the equivalent of drinking with each other at a show party. You know you are there to make money but the party moments are where most of the contacts that stick with you are formed.
Details are what make the difference in so many things and that includes forming business relationships. Chances are, at a show I am going to sit across from a half a dozen or more people at a speed networking session that are more or less offering me the same thing. The ones I will remember the most are the ones that have attempted to make some sort of real world connection after the whistle blows. The same goes for people that I have only interacted with online. The ads run in industry publications and banners run on sites are the “hello” but the real business is done in the conversation that follows.
Details are what make the difference in so many things that includes forming business relationships. As obvious as it may sound, it is much easier to keep a conversation going when you actually have something to talk about. When the only conversation is price points and payment terms, things are going to dry up quickly with little scope to keep in contact and to keep exploring ways in which you can work together.
Adult industry message boards get a bad rap. Certainly they are on a decline as far as the number of boards that have managed to stay alive and the post rates on those that have survived has slowed down. However, the continual grumbling that they aren’t as business focused as they had been in the past are perhaps from those not seeing the possibilities within the less serious threads. Of course, I love to see business threads but the lighter threads are where the formulation of a community has always taken place.
Enjoying moments of whimsy together on boards is the equivalent of drinking with each other at a show party. You know you are there to make money but the party moments are where most of the contacts that stick with you are formed. People that share an honest laugh with you are going to remember you longer and more fondly than if they only ever deal with you in a dry business environment.
Perhaps one of the reasons the industry boards have declined in recent years is that there are so many mainstream places for adult industry members to socialize. Rather than seeing each other in terms simply of which programs or services we represent, we are seeing a more complete picture of the people with whom we work.
Environments such as Facebook are allowing industry people to become “friends” without the “see sig” competition. On Facebook, merely sitting back and watching feeds can tell you a great deal. As the migration from boards to social media has progressed I’ve “met” the children and spouses of people I have known on boards for years. Now, they are more than just a board nickname and are an actual person. I know what they do in their spare time, what sports teams they support, which side of the political fence they are on and any number of details.
The very things that people use to illustrate the frivolity of social networking are the details that can be used to take your business to business marketing to a whole other level. People remember that you remembered details about them. The difference between sending out a cookie-cutter holiday card to a contact or something more personal can be what makes all the difference in turning business contacts into actual business. Very few of us are immune to such tactics. One of the best gifts I have had from a company trying to grab my attention was a care package of Philadelphia-themed foods. In order for that company to have sent that to me they would have had to pay attention to me on boards and on Facebook to know that I am originally from that area and had been having moments of homesickness. There attention to detail in turn got my attention and my business.
After the shows are over and the navigation through the mounds of business cards begin, try to remember that behind each one of the myriad of names on those cards there is an individual person. Treat them as such and endeavor to keep a connection alive with them that goes beyond that cardboard rectangle and more than likely the return will be greater than had you stuck to strictly business.
Sarah Jayne Anderson is HustlerCash.com’s affiliate manager.