Face to face networking is basically as good as it gets for sales prospecting, it gives you a great opportunity to meet new people, who are also looking for the next best way to grow and improve their business. I often speak to people who are unsure of the benefit that networking can have, or are unsure about how best to approach networking events, so I thought I would put together a short list of networking best practices, which are sure to boost your sales opportunity:
- Arrive early (15 MINS)
As we all know there is nothing worse than turning up to a business meeting or networking event late, meaning everyone already seems know each other and is deep in conversation. My advice, get to the event around 10 – 15 minutes early, that way you get to meet and greet people as they arrive, and you’ll also have an opportunity to find out from the organisers about any potential key contacts who are attending the meeting.
- STOP WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN
Time and again I see people turning up at network event, then just sitting looking around hoping for someone to come and start a conversation and hand them a great opportunity. These people have made the conscious effort to get up early, brave the elements, and potentially paid to be there, and then make no outward effort to network. Stop waiting for something to happen! People have turned up to the event to purposely find out about you and to create new sales opportunities.
- DON’T FORGET YOUR BUSINESS CARDS
Simple rule, Always remember to take business cards. You can have the greatest business conversation ever, and then the next day comes and that person has forgotten your name (opportunity has gone!)
- HAVE A PEN OR PENCIL HANDY
I always carry a pen in my jacket pocket, for that time/conversation which is that diamond opportunity I’ve been searching for! swap business cards, and then take a few notes, so that you can remember key points discussed in your conversation. This allows for your follow up call to flow smoothly.
- FOLLOW UP IN A TIMELY FASHION
So you’ve had a great conversation with a potential prospect, what now?? Simple – there's no time like the present, find out any necessary info you may need for an effective follow-up call, then pick up the phone and turn a chat into a business conversation. The greatest salespeople, see opportunity and take it!
- Critical - Always send a thank you card or place a call with anyone who gives you a referral!
So with the festive networking events coming up, why not try a few of these tips for yourself, you never know what opportunity you may create for the beginning of 2016.
For more advice on improving your sales skills, and sales process visit our ‘developing people' page of our website.
You can also get daily tips on our twitter @durhamlane or via our LinkedIn group ‘Selling at a Higher Level’.
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