Are you in a sales job?
If yes, keep reading! This is going to change your career course for sure.
If not, read still, no pointers are bad, which relate to sales, because they almost every time, relate to life too!
Now, let’s talk about the NETWORKING IN SALES.
Everyone tries to do networking… and very few people do it really well.
Only few? That’s too bad! Sales force sure needs help, like we all do. We all need guidance. We all need help opening a door. No one does anything worthwhile completely on their own.
So if you’re trying to create a genuine and mutually beneficial network for your sales strategy, here are a few pointers for you:
Do Not Ask or Take Before You Give
The goal of networking is to connect with people who can help you make a sale, get a referral, establish a contact, etc. When we network professionally, we always want something, unless we are destiny’s special child. But, the catch here is to never ask first for what you want. (In fact, you should never ask for what you want.) You will have to totally forget about what you can get and focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship. Because, people will first pay attention to you only when they will identify that you are giving them.
If at all you focus solely on what you can get out of the connection, then you will never make meaningful, mutually beneficial connections.
When you network it should be all about them, not you.
Do Not Expect Others To Understand Your Needs
Maybe you’re desperate. Maybe hitting the right spot in the industry could instantly transform red ink into black. Maybe you really, really need a sale.
Yet, no one cares. No one should care. Those are your problems. Those are your needs.
Never expect other people to respond to your needs. Other people may sympathize… but helping you is not their responsibility. The only way to get help is to help others first. Ask what they need. Ask what could help them. See if you have any such tools in your box that can mobilise their machinery. Once you establish that, trust me, you will not have to ask, when you really have to make a sale.
Care about other people first; then, and only then, will other people genuinely care back.
Do Not Hold Arrow Marks On Your Need List
I would like to bring out something to your notice here. Like I do, you also must be getting a few messages on your social or professional networks, asking you to read their posts. But how exactly do they put it across?
They don’t say “Hey, I wrote this and think it might help you”. They absolutely don’t say, “Hey, I just wrote a post which is inspired by one of yours, thanks!” They will never say, “Hi, I’ve been reading you for a while and I am sure this post is one that you’ll find interesting.”
No, they don’t say that and they won’t.
Instead, you know what is the usual practice? They say, “I just wrote this post and would like you to share it on your page.” Or “Hey, please share my work on your page, it’s a new show I am doing, and Twitter too. And yeah, please make sure you leave a comment on the post.”
Imagine how often do I comply with any such requests. Quite reasonably, NEVER!
But I might, sometimes, if I like what they wrote… and the request feels like it’s something to do with me and not them entirely. Then I might share it. Or leave a comment. Or whatever.
When it’s my decision, when it has something to give to me, I will be happy to do all that.
The same is true with almost anything. Never be too specific in your demands, do not point out what you are selling. In fact, try not to ask for what’s on your mind. Let other people offer and they’ll often, offer much more than you would ever have considered asking for.
Be Selective With Your Networking List
Some people network with anyone and everyone, tossing out business cards and connection requests like confetti and mingling with everyone in there.
Networking is not a numbers game. Find someone you think you can be of some help. Establish if they can (someday) help you in some way or can be instrumental in your sales ladder, and then approach them on your own terms. Always select the people you want to network with.
And keep your list relatively small, because there is no way to build meaningful connections with hordes of them.
Social Connects Are Less Likely To Be Productive
Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections are great! Only if those connections are in some way active and engaged with you on your page. But in all likelihood your Twitter followers aren’t reading your tweets. Your Facebook friends rarely visit your page. Your LinkedIn connections aren’t constantly scanning for your updates! Good morning! Even if it was a sad one!
Social tools provide a convenient way to establish connections, but to maintain those connections you still have to put in the work. You have to open the communication in some way or the other, and it better be a meaningful and productive one. You can try introducing your business, but do not be too vocal about gaining sales from them. NEVER! It’s a death call for that connection, if you open a conversation like that.
Keep Low Aspirations
If your company provides world’s top financial services, establishing a connection with Warren Buffett would be great. Or say you need seed capital; hooking up with Mark Cuban would be awesome.
Great, fantastic, and almost impossible!!
Trust me, the best connections are the ones that are mutually beneficial. It only works like this. What can I offer Buffett or Cuban? Not much. So what’s in it for them? Nothing. So I better quit with such aspirations.
Similarly, you may desperately want to connect with the top people in the sales industry, or the people sitting at higher positions who may buy your products or services, but the right to connect is not based on your want or need. We all must earn the right to connect, and that translates into finding people of equivalent level first, who can benefit from your knowledge, insight, or connections, and can help you create a sale too.
Well, actually forget the “status” level of your connections. All that matters is whether you can help each other reach your goals. Yours is sales, what is theirs. Find out!
These are some of my offerings when it comes to making a connection with you who are reading me.
Now it’s your turn: what are the most effective ways you network in? Let me take something too!