Prospecting is the lifeblood of any sales person. It’s also the activity that many sales people dread the most. Some of our leads come from simply opening the phone book or driving down the street. Others are the result of a current client referring us to another business. As we’ve discussed before, having an introduction or a referral greatly enhances our chances of doing business with the new prospect.
There’s another way to fill our pipeline: networking. Networking involves making contacts in situations that don’t present any obvious expectation of business. It can be an activity directly related to your business or it can be an indirect connection such as volunteering with a community group. Becoming involved in the community enhances your position and ultimately can attract new business.
Here are a few suggestions to get the most out of networking without looking as though you are a vulture:
Have a specific goal for attending the function of a new group. It might be to give and receive leads within that group. It might also be to see if this particular group meets your needs. Would it be a good place to network or not?
Have your 30 second commercial ready. When you meet someone, be prepared to tell him what you do by focusing on the results you provide for your clients.
Take your time with the people you meet. Let them do the talking so you many find out what they do. Get to know them before you try to convince them of the value of your services.
Give leads before trying to get leads. The fastest way to get what YOU want is to help others get what THEY want.
Practice the Three-Foot Rule. If anyone is within three feet of you, you must ask them what they do for a living. This forces you to speak to people you might not normally talk with. You never know where your next client will come from!