How to Network to Increase Sales
The first step to networking to increase sales is to select the right group, the right people, or the right event to join or attend. You have to target your market. You want to be mingling with the people who are interested in what you bring to the table, in what you have to say.
Determine the top 10 contacts that you want/need to meet
Before you add a networking event to your calendar, take a few minutes to consider your networking strategy, “Who are 10 people you really need to get to know?” – be clear as to why you want to meet them and what they can do for your business. Most importantly, be sure that you have thought through in advance what value you can deliver to make such a connection is worthwhile for them as well.
Work out how to meet them
Now that you have identified key contacts, set about figuring out where will you find them and have an opportunity to interact with them? Do they frequent events and business outings to which you have access? If you don’t have access, do you know others who attend these events and could sponsor your participation? Breakfasts, lunches, business seminars along with the many other public and free opportunities potentially to get know the right people for your business.
Always check out the program and if possible the attendee list for conferences or trade shows. Who are you likely to meet helps in deciding your communication strategy. Will it be prospects, the competition, or industry gurus – make a mental list of to whom you should be introducing yourself.
Prepare for meeting your top prospects
It’s always important to make a good first impression, especially when networking for business. Once you have engineered the opportunity to meet one of your top prospects, don’t go for your normal ‘elevator pitch’ – who wants to be ‘pitched’ to? Think about making the connection. What is important to them? What can you offer that will make their life better? Do your homework to learn as much as possible about this individual and his or her business and key business issues.
Have a great conversation
Take the time to prepare an introduction of yourself and business and also prepare some great questions to ask before you engage your networking prospect. Quite often, we try to impress others with what we know, with what we do, and how we can solve others’ problems. You want them to talk about themselves while you listen attentively, guiding the conversation by your questions, not your explanations.
You can talk about anything
A new report about the industry, the conference, the weather. Make sure it’s a professional and interesting and memorable conversation. Just be prepared, in the back of your mind, you still need to remember what you’re selling and what you’re working for. Don’t miss the opportunity with a wasted conversation.