Fostering and growing connections is a huge part of the sales process. However, if your sales team is only depending upon marketing for leads and is not actively seeking out their own customers, they are missing out on the untapped potential of meetups, conferences, conventions, networking groups, and more.
Many salespeople would prefer to be fed leads, and that’s understandable. However, active networking can pay off in a big way at little relative cost to your business.
Where to Network
There are many, many groups which hope to gather salespeople, managers, and experts in a variety of industries. These groups often do things like lead sharing, lectures on different professions or products, featured businesses, and more. There are also conferences, conventions, and even meetups which connect recruiters, salespeople, and more with potential clients.
With so many options, it can be difficult to discover where one should network. Here are a few strategies you can utilize to find the best networking activities for your sales team:
Make a list
There are great online resources for finding networking groups and meetups including:
- Search engines like Google and Yahoo!
Search these sites for networking groups near you, seek out groups that specialize in your business type, the type of customers with whom you are hoping to connect, or adjacent industries.
From there, make a list of the many local groups and meetups that you would like a member of your sales team to attend.
Discover more about the groups
Send out your team member to glean information on how the group works, whether it has an opening for someone from your company, what the cost is to join, and if they felt they could connect with other group members.
Pair down your list with this information.
Join appropriate groups
Once your salespeople have joined appropriate groups, be sure to track their efficacy within the groups. The entire point of participating in groups and meeting people is to gain leads. So, be sure to balance:
- How much time is spent at meetings and
- How many viable leads are being forwarded.
One final note is that networking within groups often takes a bit of time as the group members find out more about your company and products. So, be sure to give the group enough time to provide viable leads – but don’t keep sending your salesperson to a meeting that never brings in leads.
How to Network
Networking is more than just passing along business cards. Your salespeople do need to make connections, follow up with them, and keep sharing information about your business. Here are five networking tips that your salespeople can use as they work to gather leads:
- Networking is a two-way process. Many groups require that all members share leads. So your salespeople need to understand what companies are within their group and make sure they can provide leads while they gain leads.
- Make sure the leads your team is given are viable. Follow up with leads provided rapidly. Leads provided by networking often need direct connection before putting them into an automated sales funnel, so make sure your team is personally calling them before simply sending the first email in an automated series.
- Apply to speak at your meeting. Many meetings feature one member each meeting, so your salesperson should apply to speak at his or her meeting as soon as possible. The sooner everyone at the meeting understands what your business is all about, the sooner they can refer viable leads.
- Prepare to give more than just a sales pitch. No one knows what your business is all about when you are first entering a networking meeting, conference, or meetup. So, be sure to have more to say about your company than your 10-second elevator pitch.
- Take time to listen. Often it can feel like everyone at networking meetings is trying to cram in their own pitch. Encourage your team to be the standout, unique members by taking the time to listen to others actively. This may sound counter-intuitive, but by listening and being present for others, group members will remember your team when they are ready to pass leads.
Are you ready to take your sales to the next level? Contact Business Success Consulting Group today to find out about our sales consulting services.