You instruct your sales team to network. You have paid for company memberships to multiple Chambers of Commerce, Associations, Industry Groups & Seminars, and so on, and you want your sales team to utilize them. After all, this is either an expense or an investment, correct? It’s an expense if nothing comes of the memberships. But it’s an investment if your team actually networks with the right people at the event.
There are 3 fundamental flaws to, “OK sales team, go network.”
- They probably don’t really understand what your directions actually mean. Most likely, your sales team has never actually been taught how to network, work a room, and build relationships.
- It’s like cold-calling in the room – it is a time consuming, hit-or-miss gamble. The hope is to leave with just one business card that could culminate in a professional relationship.
- It’s incredibly uncomfortable for a number of professionals to randomly walk up to a perfect stranger, and strike up a conversation that was pulled out of thin air, and hope to produce a relevant relationship from this “cold-calling in-person” initiative.
Fundamental flaw #1 (above) is in and of itself its own blog, its own training program, its own art-form or skill. I won’t go off on a tangent here, but this is how we handle networking here at AAL, quite successfully I might add:
Networking should be approached with an open-mind. Don’t have an agenda. Have a conversation. Start your trust-building initiatives right off the bat. Don’t go right into a sales pitch – you don’t even know whether you have something that can positively contribute to their personal or professional lives. People don’t want to be closed, or pitched, nor do they want to be target practice for your agenda. Sales is about influencing today.
Ask the right questions, steer the conversation in a manner that allows you to explore their needs, and let them do 90% of the talking. Be purposeful, but not presumptuous. LISTEN to what they are saying. ACTIVE LISTENING is the key to your success.
Fundamental flaws #2 & #3 can be addressed with a simple process change. Since cold calling has a .5% conversion ratio in today’s business environment, let’s simply remove it from the equation. That will address both flaws simultaneously. LinkedIn provides us all, whether you have the free membership or a Premium membership, with the ability to join and search with groups for the professionals we are targeting.
Send this short instructional video by Bobbie Foedisch around to your sales team and start seeing an ROI from your professional networking memberships. Sometimes it really is as simple as tweaking a process, even one as tried and true as traditional networking. Your sales team can network with purpose by leveraging LinkedIn before your next Chamber event.
We are in a digitally enabled world. It’s time to start maximizing the capabilities. Leverage LinkedIn & Social Selling innovation to build power networks, open more doors, and maximize client acquisition. Start now.
If you have any other questions or thoughts, please leave them in the comments section. Let’s open a dialogue – that’s why we’re here!
- Be the first to give to your new business relationships
- Always pay it forward
- Network with purpose.
Good luck and good networking! Remember… It’s All About Leverage.