By Sam Ellis – Membership Development Manager
Why it’s hard and what your company can do to support you more.
There are many ways to generate leads as a salesperson; door knocking, cold calling, regularly posting on social to name a few.
However, networking is considered one of the quickest ways to meet people and build relationships that naturally generate more leads, sales (and commission!).
After all, if no one knows you, how can they buy from you?!
However, the old adage that ‘networking doesn’t work’ often comes from salespeople., Not because they’re bad at what they do, but because they’ve either been poorly educated about networking or aren’t supported properly by their managers.
Of course, new and repeat business is the ultimate goal for many businesses through networking. But the approach taken towards achieving this is key. We continue to educate people in saying networking is a long-term strategy that requires an investment of your time and money.
Yet we still hear many companies don’t understand this.
Salespeople have targets to hit. But many struggle with networking because of the pressure put on them by their superiors looking for a quick sale and results.
We often hear that they are questioned by their superiors for ‘spending too much time networking and not enough time selling’.
They’re asked things like;
‘How much have you sold this month from networking?’
‘Why are people in your group not buying from you?’
‘Why don’t you spend more time in the office just calling people instead?’
Instead, managers could ask questions such as;
‘What types and sizes of businesses are attending?’
‘Who have you met this month?’
‘How many 1-2-1’s have you had?’
… and most importantly;
‘Do you feel there are people and businesses in your networking group that you can help?’
This doesn’t just mean pushing your own product or service on them hoping to win a sale. More thinking, who in your existing network can you introduce them to? What advice can you give them? How can you help them?
The most successful networkers give first and receive second.
Most of us network for business purposes, but it can be very sociable too – and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Many business relationships are built on a personal level. Dare I say it again, but often you have to get to know someone on some personal level for them to know, like and trust you.
If you’re a salesperson reading this, here’s some tips that may help you educate your manager and help produce more sales through networking:
- Educate yourself first and then your manager about how to network effectively. First of all, there are many misconceptions around networking, don’t always believe what you hear!
- What you are hearing about networking, your competitor’s will be hearing too! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because your competitors will probably believe what they hear. If you can be open minded enough to understand how networking can get you ahead of your competition, and more so given the times we’re in, certainly about how to network online most effectively, you’ll be miles ahead of them in no time!
- Get your manager to attend an event with you. Let them see the types and sizes of businesses in the room and help you determine whether they’re your right audience. Certainly at Network My Club, they’ll see how we provide an unique and enjoyable, but most importantly, a productive experience for all businesses that network with us!
- Sit down and discuss a plan of action. Many people network not really knowing why they’re there – ‘it’s just what people do’. If you’re scratching your head wondering why you’re not getting the returns you’d hoped for from networking, there may be some things to work on.
- As part of your plan, you should be asking the right questions. Here’s a list of 27 questions to ask when networking that will help you build relationships faster and have more productive conversations.