It’s all about who you know
How often do you hear this?
As sales professionals and business people, our network is one of our most treasured assets and something we must tend to, weed and nurture on a regular basis.
So how do we cultivate our networks? How do we ensure they work FOR us?
First, here’s what I recommend you don’t do….
About a year ago I met a sales trainer who trained and practiced sales based on the premise that if someone wasn’t interested in buying from you then and there, you move on. Cut them. It was all about getting and getting right now. No other value in that person other than whether or not they will buy (according to 6 steps I might add). Transactional. And it left me cold.
My experience has led to my belief that taking a short term approach to business relationships may feed your business today, but can leave you starving down the track. There are better ways to be in the business world that are not only more effective, but make working with others way more enjoyable and meaningful.
Here’s what to do instead…
Let’s break it down into 3 key relationships to explore how to cultivate:
ONE: Clients and prospects are those with whom you’ve done work, are currently working with or those who are likely to work with you at some stage.
Your current and potential sales are the most imminent with this group and where the bulk of your time, energy and quality of your time should be invested. Conversations, meetings with clients and prospects are not all about “what you can sell next”, but approached with a sense of curiosity to build further insight, update your current level of insight and an intention to deepen your connection with your main contact and others in the organization. Don’t short change clients and prospects with anything less than face to face time and actual phone conversations. Person to person contact.
TWO: Advocates will recommend your business to others even though they may not have worked with you. They understand the value you deliver, how it brings value to what they bring and when asked, will happily introduce you to other potential contacts they believe you will deliver value to as well.
Nurture advocates and harness their potential by maintaining regular contact with them by sharing wins and success stories and by deepening your understanding of them, their product/service and their client base as well. A mix of face to face catch ups, invitations to events, email marketing, social media updates and direct phone and email conversations will enable you to keep your communication varied and fresh.
THREE: Raving fans are the best!!
They’ll positively gush about you and your service/product completely unprompted. In essence, they’re your unpaid sales team. Please treat them as the treasures they are. Scheduling in regular face to face catchups and demonstrating your appreciation in a way that is meaningful to them will deepen your connection with them.
When it comes to Raving Fans, consider what you can give back to them like you would a dear friend or relative. How can you support them? What actions can you take to make them feel special?
Rethink your database.
Relationships are organic and change all the time, so it’s not a set and forget exercise. It’s a constant tendering activity that deserves your time and attention. After all, selling is all about people. Just like life really.