Become a Networking Professional and Double Your Income!
The easiest sale you can make occurs when someone gladly refers you to a business associate or friend. They have already set the stage for your product by giving a strong testimonial about you personally and your company As a sales coach I agree that professional business networking is a smart practical and efficient way to grow one’s business. Yet networking is still a low priority for most sales people!
Here are a few tips to help you with your networking activities to increase your lead sources dramatically.
- First Networking Rule. It is about Action and Planning. As with any endeavor that is worthwhile pursuing it usually requires taking “new” actions and behaviors. Spend a week-end creating your new “Networking/Referral Plan”. Determine what new actions you need to take in order to accomplish more contacts and referrals.
- Get Involved in Business Networking Events. Make a decision to get involved, not in one group but several, in order to increase your visibility. Although many functions are social in nature, make an effort to make new friendships and business contacts. Join a Business Networking International (BNI) Chapter, TIPS Club, Chamber or Industry trade group and become an active involved member.
- It’s About Them Not You! Most of us attend a networking event to make a contact or find a lead that might become an opportunity. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking puts you in the sell mode. Don’t make the mistake of going around the room passing out business cards to everyone you see. That can be a serious turnoff and is all about you. Instead redefine why you are there. You are there to help other people meet and connect. A higher purpose is to think how to send business not necessarily receive it. That is much more powerful and will lead to more true business relationships. Learn how to ask this powerful question “John, in your business what does your best prospect look like so I might be able to send a potential opportunity your way?”
Have Some Key Questions Ready for the New People You Meet Having the right conversation questions planned in your mind before a meeting can be very helpful. In a book by Ron Berg “Endless Referrals” he offered a few recommended questions to ask at a networking meeting that I have found most useful: How did you get your start in the business?
What separates your company from the competition?
How can I know if someone I am talking to is a good prospect for you?
If I can ever refer business your way I will. (wait for response)
Learn How to Ask for A Follow Up Meeting Remember everyone needs and wants help in growing their business. Why not suggest a future meeting to help you both grow your respective businesses.
Create a Prospecting Networking Calendar If you start creating actions on a calendar that include a “cookbook” of prospecting activities, which we recommend, make sure a portion of those activities include several networking events.
All things being equal people buy from people they know, like and trust. The more you fine tune you’re networking skills the more contacts and business friends you create. Start taking networking seriously and you just might double your income!
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