Hopefully you’ve been following this series all week but if not, you can find the first four parts of this series at the links below:
How to follow up after networking events #1
How to follow up after networking events #2
How to follow up after networking events #3
How to follow up after networking events #4
So having done all of this networking and having put the effort in to following up, when are we actually going to sell something?
I believe there is a huge degree of squeamishness around the subject of sales in networking. We all know that business networking can help us to find support, suppliers, friendship, advice and much more. But the vast majority of us, including me, went along to our first networking meeting because we wanted to sell something. And we still do.
I speak in front of thousands of people every year now on the subject of networking and I always ask the audience the same question. I ask them whose business they came for? Did they come to the networking event to benefit their own business? And overwhelmingly, people get up at 6am and drive to a networking event because they believe it will be good for their business. That they will sell something.
So I don’t quite get the squeamishness around this. We should not be ashamed or coy about the fact that a huge part of the benefit we (should) get from our networking is the increased sales in our business.
Sales isn’t the only way we should measure our success in networking, particularly in the early days. Our ROI on networking can be measured in many different ways. But sales are vital to any business, and sales are also vital to our network. Without sales, to put it bluntly, none of us will be in business and we would, by definition, have no network.
So what is your sales process? What are you doing to move your contacts through your sales funnel? What are you doing to turn your contacts into prospects and your prospects into sales?
If you don’t know, you need to. So let me give you some hints and tips.
I wrote about this a little while ago in my article One thing that most people get wrong in networking but to summarise, it doesn’t matter how many people you are adding into your sales funnel. They will not automatically turn into sales unless you are actively doing something to make that happen.
And what needs to happen is this. You need to spend time following up with people in the ways I’ve described in this series. You need to promote what you do through social media, through Email, through networking and when you’re actually talking to people.
And at some point, you need to say “shall we go ahead?”.
Once you’ve established whether someone genuinely needs what you sell, once you’ve made it attractive so that they want what you sell, then you need to close the sale.
There are many ways to close a sale, but the unfortunate truth is that very often, people don’t try to at all. They leave the other party thinking about it, rather than ask for a yes or no decision. Or they just hope that people will approach them and buy.
But if you have confidence that what you are selling has value for the person who buys it, why wouldn’t you politely invite them to proceed?
And if you don’t yet have that confidence, it will come when you start asking and start getting the results you, and your clients deserve.
Make sure, before you ask someone to go ahead, that you have removed any barriers. For example, before you ask, do you have everything you need to get on with the sale straight away? A contract? A means of taking payment? Whatever else your offering needs. Make sure you have it immediately to hand so that when they do agree to proceed, that you then don’t have to delay any further. It has been pointed out to me quite often that we sabotage our own sales by putting obstacles in the way, even if we get everything else in the process right.
Ask for the sale.
Of course there is a little more to it than that. But unless you’re going to do the last bit, you won’t be getting the results you deserve from the first two.
Get yourself out there. Be the biggest advocate of your own product or service. And have confidence in asking people to buy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short series.
If you want a sales process built around your product or service and your networking style, you need to come to The Networking Retreat. Click here to book – http://thenetworkingretreat.co.uk/