Business networking develops professional relationships to generate referral sources, sales leads, partnerships, and career opportunities. While COVID-19 temporarily halted face-to-face networking events, such as trade shows and other face-to-face events, the business industry has since returned and fully embraced physical networking again. This article offers business networking statistics to help you explore how networking impacts your business and career.
General Business Networking Statistics
These business networking statistics give an overall picture of what networking can do for you, in-person or online. Some of these data points also show the types of opportunities created due to networking and how people evaluate those they meet at various events.
1. 65% of businesses consider in-person networking via trade shows invaluable for their marketing efforts
Takeaway: Despite the shifts in business caused by the pandemic, many still prefer face-to-face interactions. Sixty-five percent of businesses consider in-person trade shows invaluable for their marketing strategy. This highlights the enduring value of face-to-face interactions and their impact on building relationships, establishing trust, and driving business growth. While virtual events have become increasingly popular due to the pandemic, they can only partially replace the benefits of in-person interactions.
2. The closing rate for customers obtained through business networking is 40%
Takeaway: While much of networking is for developing referral sources or career advancement, attending professional events can also be an effective lead generation method with high conversion rates. A 40% closing rate in any sales position and industry is quite high and should not be taken for granted. In-person events specifically provide one-on-one, personal conversations to help develop trust in your brand—yielding a better chance of obtaining new customers.
Pro tip: Customer relationship management (CRM) software like Zoho CRM is an effective tool for recording lead sources. By using the “lead source” field in Zoho CRM, you can easily track the channels from where your leads are coming in. Whether through networking events, social media, email campaigns, or referrals, you can categorize and organize your leads based on their sources.
3. 64% of trade show attendees are not current customers of the exhibited businesses
Takeaway: Trade shows and expos have been one of the most traditional places for showcasing products and business networking. The events allow you to meet hundreds of decision-makers easily and begin developing meaningful relationships with them. This networking stat, in particular, shows how many opportunities a single trade show offers, as most attendees do not have to pay for relationships with any exhibitors.
4. 70% of businesses acquired new leads by using trade shows as a business networking strategy
Takeaway: The business world is fully embracing the post-pandemic world, as reflected by the number of leads business owners generate through live trade shows. According to Display Wizard’s COVID-19 trade show report, many businesses are reaping the benefits from the return of trade shows, with 70% saying they acquired new leads from participating in physical trade shows.
Pro tip: Networking events can be a great pillar of your business marketing strategy. You can meet potential customers, peers, and professionals, exchange business cards, and showcase your products or services. With the right approach, these events can lead to valuable partnerships, referrals, and new business opportunities.
5. 39% of business card recipients could walk away from a business due to its business card design
Takeaway: Business cards have always played a key role in traditional business networking by including basic company and contact information on one card. Your business card should accurately reflect the personality of your brand; hence, you should be very particular in your business card design.
Most potential leads, partners, and decision-makers who receive a business card use it as a reference point for evaluating a business. One networking stat attests that 39% of potential clientele would walk away from becoming a customer because of how a card looks like.
Pro tip: Getting dozens of business cards at an event means tons of entries to add to your database. You can expedite the data entry process using a CRM with business card scanning capabilities. Popular CRMs like Bitrix24, for instance, allow you to scan a card and have the data automatically added to the system as a lead or contact record through its mobile CRM.
Online Networking Statistics
Online networking has transformed the way people connect and interact with each other. Through social media and professional networking sites, individuals and businesses can expand their reach, build relationships, and enjoy a borderless audience reach. These online networking facts show the benefits of adding online networking to your face-to-face networking efforts.
6. Around 40% of people network more online than in person
Takeaway: According to this business networking statistic, approximately 40% of individuals engage in online networking instead of face-to-face interactions. This could be attributed to challenges in coordinating schedules for in-person meetings or the influence of the pandemic on networking practices. Alternatively, people are simply looking for other ways to network without having to do face-to-face engagements.
7. 85% of jobs are filled through professional & personal networking
Takeaway: Networking of any kind gives you a leg up on other candidates for job opportunities, according to this business networking statistic. Establishing a relationship with someone involved in a company’s hiring process significantly improves your chances of getting hired.
These days, personal networking could be easily done through LinkedIn connections as it provides an easy way to connect, find jobs, and send messages to professional contacts. This applies whether they know them personally, through common contacts, or simply through browsing LinkedIn.
Pro tip: CRM platforms are an excellent tool to remind you to attend professional events, contact your referral network to catch up, and connect with new decision-makers on LinkedIn. Many CRM products, such as Freshsales, have task management features where you can add recurring tasks in your system as a to-do list.
8. Facebook has been adopted by 200 million small & medium-sized businesses as of 2021
Takeaway: Social networking is also essential to business networking in today’s digital era. According to social business networking statistics, Facebook pages are being utilized by over 200 small and medium-sized businesses to connect with large communities in various geographical locations. This could be attributed to the businesses’ ability to easily post their location and contact details on Facebook, share company updates, and use its Messenger service to connect with customers.
Pro tip: Businesses can leverage CRM tools to effectively manage their social media presence and engage with existing customers and potential leads. Some of the best social media CRMs offer features like contact or customer messaging, post scheduling, and social listening. You can also advertise or create sponsored posts to generate leads.
Building professional relationships through business networking is crucial for generating leads, sales, or partnerships. To achieve excellent results for yourself and your business, it’s essential to have a consistent plan to attend virtual or in-person events and make it an essential part of your sales management process. This helps you stay on top of the latest trends and connect with the right people to drive your success.