Last week, I wrote about several fundamental basics a good salesperson does every day. Good salespeople are working when others are sleeping, watching TV or wasting time on Facebook or other social media platforms.
The most fundamental aspect of selling is understanding your customers’ wants. If a successful salesperson can master the “wants” of a customer, they are halfway to making the sale.
Here are some of the things customers may have at the top of their minds: more profits, more sales, better image, more customers, better brand recognition, no hassles, less stress, more value, more success, and recognition. The good salespeople learn these key drivers by researching their customers and understanding their customers’ markets and business models.
If you are still cold-calling customers, you are wasting your time. A salesperson who is cold calling is making a “Hail Mary” effort. Networking is the difference between success and failure. Spending time building relationships through events and spending time with people are the underlying truths in developing successful networks. Here are some key elements of networking:
- Getting to know people who can make decisions. Understanding how a business or organization makes decisions and who makes the decisions saves you time and effort.
- Building relationships. The old saying, “dig your well before you are thirsty,” is so true. Before you need to make a sale, develop a relationship that will lead to a successful outcome for both parties. People want to do business with people they know.
- Make more contacts/prospects. How do you grow your Rolodex? Networking is the quickest and easiest way to build quality contacts and opportunities.
- Get more referrals. A good salesperson develops an excellent reputation for helping people solve their problems. A “word of mouth reference” is gold and only happens when people sense you have their best interests at heart.
- Make more sales. The obvious outcome is making more sales and the only way to make more sales is to build a bigger network.
So how do you go about building your network and where do you start? The prominent place is with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber offers networking opportunities to a wide variety of business people who are “like-minded” and are looking to find ways for people to be successful. Other networking opportunities include:
- Business seminars/events. We offer 30-40 business seminar/events a year. These events allow individuals to build contacts and prospects and, at the same time, learn new things.
- A networking club. This is a simple way for non-competing businesses to develop leads and opportunities.
- A civic organization. Civic groups are a great foundation to establish relationships and to build networks.
- Getting involved in a charitable event. A high-profile charitable event can lead to long-term relationships.
- Your trade association or professional association. Contacts and relationships through a trade association can help you eliminate “mine-fields and traps.”
- Parents of your children’s friends. People spend so much time at their kids’ functions and activities. It only makes sense that you take advantage of the opportunities to build business networks with the parents of your children’s friends.
Building a strong network eliminates cold-calling and builds a successful selling process that is time and effort well spent.