Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Top Eleven Networking Tips

As business people many of us see networking as something you just have to do. It means we can tick the box to say that we have been out and about drumming up contacts for future business.

However it is vitally important to make the most of your time at networking and referral group events. We have to consider that the time spent is taking us away from other important business activities, or if outside business hours family and recreational time. Therefore the more efficient we are at making the most of these events, the better.

Here are some ideas to make the most of your networking time.

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone!
  2. Treat networking at referral groups as you would any other social interaction, don’t just focus on the business side of things, be friendly and useful first.
  3. Don’t dismiss anyone! You may think you do not need to know or meet this person, but you don’t know who they may know, or where they may be in the future, give everyone the time and respect they deserve.
  4. Your first goal at every meeting is to help someone else, build the trust first, help another, and eventually they will reciprocate.
  5. Be more interested than interesting!! its not all about you, no one wants to listen to someone else talk about themselves and their business for 15 minutes, they will be looking at their watch and making excuses to sneak off to get more canapes.
  6. Introduce people who have similar interests and may benefit from the relationship, help someone else first.
  7. Always follow up! Be prompt and follow up when you say you will, people will appreciate your punctuality, it says I value your time and I come through when I say I will.
  8. Never sell at a networking event!! There are many reasons for this, just don’t do it.
  9. Ask good questions in order to get a strong idea of what the other person’s business offers, only then are you in a position to help them.
  10. Be clear when introducing what your business offers, people are not interesting in in depth explanations of your products and services, use case studies of how you have helped others to explain what you offer.
  11. Add value! This goes with the previous statement, when discussing your business make it about them not you, how can you help them? This could be as simple as updates on current regulations if you are in the health and safety industry, or changes to tax laws if you are an accountant.

Finally, be picky, don’t be the person who goes to every networking event who talks to everyone but never makes any strong connections. Have a purpose at each event, make the most of every interaction. You need to get a return for the time invested.

Hayden Burgess

Hayden Burgess  is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

How Effective Is Your Networking?

Everyone talks about networking to improve business; however I find it to be an overused word and underused strategy by many of the salespeople and business owners I meet at so called “networking events”.

Many people think of networking as going to a business event in search of business opportunities however it is much more than this.  It’s a very cost effective way of doing business through referred leads if it is managed correctly.

The “Barrons Business Guide” Dictionary of Business Terms defines networking as –
“making use of professional contacts”

You can break network into two words – “net” and “work”.
Your “net” is made up of the people and businesses you interconnect with
Your “work” is the building and maintenance of your net.

To be effective in your networking you need to have systems.

A “system” is defined as “organization of functionally interactive units for the achievement of a common goal”

Some systems for networking would include –

  1. A clear strategy for each event/meeting
  2. A clear profile of the type of prospects you are looking for.  Many salespeople don’t have a clear picture of this and tend to say they are interested in anyone and are then condemned to spend their time with the wrong prospects
  3. Lists of prospects you may want introductions to – be specific
  4. An “elevator speech” or “value statement”
  5. List of questions to ask new contacts
  6. Follow-up contact systems

Let’s look at some of the “sins of networking”.

1. Attending the wrong events –

When I first got into sales I attended every event that was going and eagerly gave away as many of my business cards as I could as I had read somewhere you should give away 5 cards each day.   I now believe there are three uses for business cards –

  • Free lunch (lucky draw)
  • Possible leads – networking events (dubious)
  • Get the other persons card (No.1 reason)

2. Talking Too Much –

Let’s face it we love talking about ourselves and our businesses and I know I’m no different to anybody else.  I think it was Mark Twain who said “a bore is someone who opens their mouth and puts both feats in it”
Another favorite – “a closed mouth gathers no foot”

Many of us are so busy “waiting to talk” that we are barely listening to the other person.  Something I strive to do in these situations is “to be more interested than interesting” which brings me to sin no. 3.

3. Not asking enough questions –

More importantly-  enough of the right questions.
The most effective way to build trust and rapport is to ask good questions that connect with who you are having a conversation with.
A question I am often asked is – “what if they don’t ask what we do”?
The law of reciprocity usually kicks in and eventually they will ask, but at the end of the day if nothing else you’ve learnt a lot about them and their business.

I will continue with more “sins of networking” in my next article, in the meantime keep your sinning to a minimum!!

Quote:

Internalize the Golden Rule of sales that says –

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to,
those people they know, like and trust.”
                                                                                                          Bob Burg

 

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, Uncategorized, , , ,

About

Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
Go to SimpleSalesTracking.com

Tweets