After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam, U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Paul Dillon launched a 40-year business career serving as consultant and project manager for several organizations, including 15 years at RSM McGladrey as managing director of corporate services.
Following his retirement, Dillon started Dillon Consulting Services LLC, which he leads as president and CEO. He created the concept of The Bunker, an incubator in Chicago for veterans who want to start their own businesses. His business savvy predates the internet, and he believes personal interactions remain a critical component of business success.
(Photo courtesy of Paul Dillon)
Why do you believe personal relationships trump digital marketing when it comes to generating sales?
People make purchasing decisions from people whom they know and trust. You can meet people who might be potential clients or customers at networking events, at little or no cost. Go out there and circulate! You’ll eventually meet the right people, and good things will happen.
What strategies do you recommend for building trust with potential clients/customers?
Earned media is better than advertising. Write articles for trade publications in your industry to advance name recognition for your company and create some ‘buzz’ around your product or service. Increased awareness leads to increased sales. Offer your services as a speaker at industry conferences and symposia. State that you’re willing to contribute your time and expertise, but ask that your conference and travel expenses be reimbursed by the conference organizers. Take a reporter who covers your industry to lunch. Over time, you’ll get to form a relationship with the reporter, who can be very helpful to you in getting the word out about your product or service.
Can you give an example of a networking event you’ve attended that produced positive results?
Some years ago, I was asked to help ‘fill a table’ for a friend who had bought a table to a charity event. I said that I would be glad to attend. Arriving at the event early, I sat down at the table next to a very distinguished gentleman, whom I did not know. After exchanging pleasantries and the proverbial small talk, this gentleman proceeded to quiz me at length about the capabilities of the firm that I was with at the time. At the end of the conversation, he handed me his business card, and told me to give him a call. The end result is that the organization that he was with at the time turned out to be one of my biggest clients.
This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse