NETWORKING AS A SALES STRATEGY
Many business owners are part of various networks. If you’re new to networking, you might wonder why so many successful business owners advise you to network. Many people have a fear of ‘selling’ themselves and let’s face it, we have the Irish mentality of not pushing yourself too far forward.
One of the many ways to grow sales in your business is to meet new people. If you have read any business books on how to grow a small business, networking is always among the top strategies. To make networking an effective sales strategy though, it’s important to be clear on what networking is (and what it is not). It is most definitely not selling to the room. I hear negative talk about networking from many struggling business owners. Many people believe networking is direct selling. If they join a business group and don’t receive business within a short period of time, they view it as failure on their part. They feel they did something wrong or the people in the group weren’t suitable for their business. Sales People in Ireland are always talking. Business owner to business owner, we talk about how we are, what’s holding us back and what we need to progress. As we listen to others, we will notice something they’re struggling with. We may know someone in our network to help that business. We make a warm introduction and let both parties know why we think it would be worth their while having a coffee together. Favours like this or thinking of others as we go about our own business accumulates goodwill towards you and your business. Most people will try to repay the favour and start to seek ways to help your business also. This cycle goes on and on and as we all know, what you put in, you always get out. You don’t have to do anything with a view to what you get in return, but nature being as it is, you generally reap what you sow, and good deeds don’t go unnoticed or unrewarded.
So, to clear up a few myths or to help people struggling with networking, here are some rules to live by when it comes to networking to grow sales;
Getting to know people takes time. Don’t expect anyone to know about your business from a sixty second pitch or quick conversation over a coffee. Try to meet people for proper one to ones and allow at least an hour to sit and get to know the person. During this time, remember to actively listen to your new contact. Be aware by asking questions you will be begin to develop a relationship and understand their business better.
Give before you take.
As mentioned earlier, remember you reap what you sow. By looking after others, you will find they come to look after you also. Like everything in life, you have to pay upfront.
Putting in this effort will make you a better connector of people and grow your reputation positively within various groups. As others help grow your business, ensure you thank them. Whether or not business came from new introductions is not relevant. Always be aware of taking the time to thank someone for an introduction.
Find the right group for you
There are many networking events and groups. Finding the right one for you might take time. It is possible to be a member of lot of groups but be aware if you aren’t finding time to meet people for one to one meet ups, or getting to know people well, you might be busy attending events, but not building relationships. Spend your time wisely.
Get to know one group at a time and a you get to know others, they will recommend other events or groups you might be interested in. Take advice from people who network successfully to grow their business. Regardless of how many sales strategies you have ongoing at present, networking is definitely one to include in the mix if you haven’t taken the leap yet.
For more information on sales strategies for 2019, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org