How To Win Business By Networking
In sales we do tend to become focused upon our own little worlds. Our company, our desk, our clients; but there is a whole world of people out there living their lives in their little worlds too. And they do a lot of business. The purpose of personal networking is to move yourself into these people's networks so that you can do business with them naturally and without cold calling. Now, I am not for one second suggesting that you should stop cold calling but you can use personal networking to greatly increase your chances of success and referrals.
Pareto's Law states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. Chances are that these are the clients that you have strong relationships with, your "champions" if you like. So start to network with them. Find out who they know, who they can refer you to and who they would approach for business if they were you.
Now you may be thinking, "Well, I cannot do that." Or even, "Well, they would have given it to me if they had any contacts, wouldn't they!".
Wrong! On both counts! People who do not sell for a living do not understand what you want if you don't tell them. They may well think that you do not need or want their help. Approached properly your clients will help you, they will give you leads and they will sell your services for you. I advocate that everyone I coach has a "circle of influence" - a group of people who always speak well of you, will refer you to other people and who will happily pass leads to you. Start by identifying ten people for yours now and start to network with them. As time passes you can expand this group. You will find that many of your best clients will be people who are referred to you by your existing best clients.
And remember! In sales, none active clients can be "champions" too so keep in touch with them. I have won many large pieces of business from clients who work with my competitors for a variety of valid reasons but then recommended me and not them!!! Why? Because the salesperson who sold them had something specific that they wanted at the right time but I had the networking skills and the credibility so they gave their referral business to me not the other salesperson!
"But Gavin, I have only just started out and I haven't got any clients or any people to get into my circle!!!!"
Well, firstly I don't believe you. Ten years ago I was offered a job with a large financial advisors in the City. I was very tempted. It was more money than I was earning, the commission was incredible and the offices were flash. I decided that it was not the path for me but I do remember their first question in the interview, "When you start with us you have to make a list of 200 people you know. Now you many not think that you know 200 people but you will. Write down all of your family, all of your friends and then everyone you know through them. It may take you a while but you'll get there. Your first job is to ring them all, tell them what you are doing and ask them how they can help. Can you do that?"
So you see you will know people, when you try. Are you ready to try yet?
But there are other ways to get to know people and here are just a few. I am sure that you will have more and better ideas because you know your business better than me?
And as a final note before you all leave your desks to take your best clients out for lunch or to go and visit BNI! You are running your own business. You are responsible for making the sales that you need to hit target. You need to work out - by yourself and in discussion with your manager or coach - the best way to do that. Every networking meeting you attend should have an objective!
Several of my ex staff may well be reading this thinking, "I cannot believe him - he stopped me going to the XXX user group." Yes, I might have and if you remember I asked you why you were going. If the objective is not clear and not quantifiable - don't go. It's not a "jolly" or a day out of the office, it's a proven business development method!
For the last 10 years, Gavin Ingham has been helping sales people to explode their sales performance by turning self-doubt, fear and lack of motivation into self-belief, confidence and action. With his inspirational approach to sales performance and motivation Gavin combines commercial experience, personal excellence and communications technologies in delivering personal and business sales success.