How To Network Like A Master

It’s crucial in sales to build a good network. It’s the classic help me to help you that keeps on giving as you build more and more connections. So, how to do it?

Well, here are the best ways to get you networking with the best of them!

Image source -  uberof202 ff (CC License)      Image source – uberof202 ff (CC License)

Keep it relevant

Over time you’ll get better and better at quickly working out which are good leads and which prospects are not relevant. Start off by tailoring your networking to people who are relevant to what your business does. There’s no point wasting time on a prospect that isn’t going to lead anywhere.  

All the people in your network should be made up of:

  • Possible leads
  • Well connected people

“Possible leads” is pretty self-explanatory. If you think a person might one day become a customer then it is of course worth connecting with them. But the true power of networking is building connections with “well connected people”. These people may not or ever be sales prospects, but if they know people who might be then they are well worth knowing.

No matter how nice they might be, if a prospect can’t benefit from your business, it’s not worth pushing the sale.

Perfect your pitch

Like the cliché of the sales person in the lift…only don’t actually do that. What you should do is create a go-to pitch, your classic introduction of what you’re about. You want to keep it swift, accurate and to the point

photo-1467664631004-58beab1ece0d           Image source – Andrew Neel (CC License)

As well as being useful if you find yourself in a situation to quickly make a pitch, it’s a good exercise. Often, if you can’t explain in one sentence what your business can do for your prospect your pitch needs some work done to it.

Remember tips such as:

  • The power of three: ‘I can help you because of X, Y and Z’
  • Avoid complicated long sentences – hence explaining your business in one sentence
  • Add a helpful ‘How does that sound/Do you have any questions’ towards the end of your conversation

Learn from a mentor

There’s no shame in learning from people who have been in sales longer than you have, or even had similar situations. Asking for advice sooner rather than later will mean you can avoid missing out on valuable networking tips. The sooner you reach out for help the sooner you’ll be perfecting your networking techniques.

Also by asking for help you’re building better relationships with colleagues who will be able to point you in the direction of well connected people in future.

Set goals

Set out clear goals for yourself, and stick ruthlessly to achieving them. If you didn’t manage to meet a target then have a look at what might have gone wrong; most of the time you’ll find it was unrealistic to start with.

So keep challenging yourself to meet targets but keep in mind the realities of the area you’re working in.

goals                                                     Image source – Christian Widell ( CC License)

Organise

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to stay organised. Organisation is crucial to successful networking because you’re constantly up to date on the who the where and the when. It starts with the small things, but it makes a big difference to how fluidly you can work:

  • Tidy the desk – nobody wants to be scrambling around for a pen while still on the phone!
  • Write down appointments as you’re making them
  • Sync all your electric diaries
  • Copy any post it notes down – and then throw them away so you don’t get confused later
  • Set reminders on your phone you never get caught out

Social media

Oh yes, sooner or later someone had to mention the massively influential elephant in the room. Professional social media is a crucial aspect of networking these days when around 2.2 billion people use it.

  • Twitter – directly follow and interact with prospects and influencers
  • LinkedIn – make connections with new leads and well connected people

Personal touch

Literally hand-write your thank-yous like we were made to do as children. Sales can often be seen as a cold cutthroat business, but there’s nothing cold about a hand written note of thanks.

You are literally showing your contacts that you appreciate them enough to take time out of your day to say thank to them for their business.

Rehearse…but not too much

Have a run through of your pitch and introductions the night before, so you have a good idea of how you’re going to come across to prospects. Remember also to check you’re up to date on all your facts.

But don’t overdo it. Things are inevitably going to go wrong from time to time, and prospects have a habit of asking the question you never thought they would! So master the art of improvisation.

People are more likely to warm to you when you can work around the unexpected without sticking to your routine like a machine.

Take the good and take the bad

The facts of life are that we can’t be perfect 24/7. But don’t be downhearted because even bad experience is still experience. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. You can even turn your mishaps into a story to tell at networking events as an ice breaker or a way to build relationships with prospects – again this makes you appear as a relatable human being and not a selling machine.

Likewise, don’t ignore the successes. Be proud of them but remember what it was that went well in that situation. You can replicate these techniques when approaching new prospects.

Networking requires you to respond to each person as an individual but there are certain things which go well for everyone, so remember these things as you come across them!

Smile

Yes, it seems so obvious but it really is that effective. No matter if you’re on the phone or speaking face to face, but a smile can always make a difference.

  • Prospects can hear the difference in your voice over the phone when you smile
  • A smile is likely to lighten your voice and make it sound more positive
  • It puts people at ease, and encourages them to smile back

Even on a personal level, networking can be just that little bit smoother if you smile it will remind you to be positive.

Conclusion

Networking can seem daunting but really, it’s a matter of making connections with people. As a sales person you’ve been doing this already, so it’s just a case of finding the right techniques.

Remember to be confident but to listen to your prospects and you’ll be on your way to building a large and successful network.

Virtual Sales are experts in telemarketing and lead generation. If  you want to find out more about these services get in touch today.

 

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Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.

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