The Power of Networking
People buy from people they like and trust. All sales professionals know this conceptually, but the real challenge in today’s competitive office technology industry is this: how to help prospects LIKE and TRUST you. Hence, our current-day dilemma.
Before the advent of social media content marketing, videography, and real-time content generation and proclamation online, a sales professional had a pretty rough life. They had to drive to a prospect’s place of business, call them on the telephone (remember that device?), or email them to get some sort of connection to develop that coveted LIKE and TRUST. Time was spent driving around, often utilizing the old “drop by since I was in the area” visits. Sometimes we would call the prospect on the phone, trying to get our voice to not sound as nervous as we really were inside. Emails were effective, but again, you can’t read a person very well from the words in an email. “Email misinterpretation” is a sales professional’s great nemesis.
There’s a better way to develop the LIKE and TRUST that sales professionals desire. I’ll warn you right up front, it’s harder than you might think. It’s also easier than what you might think! Let me explain.
Business networking is defined as going in person to a meeting of businesspeople, with the purpose of learning about each other’s businesses, and looking for connections. Business networking has been a key to the success of thousands of sales professionals over the last 25 years. Before the 1990’s there were not a lot of opportunities to go to what we call “Networking events”. In the 1960’s it was the “cocktail party”. In the 1970’s it was “social groups”. In the 1980’s it was called “Networking” for the first time. In the early 2000’s, sales professionals began to feel the sting from losing sales based on a prospect saying something like, “Gosh, I’m sorry, but when we were making our purchasing decision, you just didn’t come to mind”. Wait a minute. They said you “didn’t come to mind?!” How come that happened? Largely, because you were not top of mind, and the reason was they did not like or trust you enough – because they didn’t KNOW you enough!
The value of business networking in 2020 has never been more paramount. Today, we really don’t KNOW someone by looking at the LinkedIn profile. Or their Facebook page, Instagram page, Twitter feed, or SnapChat vids. Today, more than ever, buyers are suspect. We are suspect of sales professionals who appear one way online…..but in person, a different person, a different brand. This is the reason why it’s important today, in 2020, for sales professionals to “see and be seen” by attending, and participating in business networking events. It’s there, that a prospect can see you, hear you talk, read your body language (more on that in a later blog) and start to develop that LIKE and TRUST that we all yearn for.
There will be a Part 2 to this topic, but let’s conclude Part 1 by simply saying: Get out of your comfort zone and participate in as many relevant (key word there!) business networking events per week as you can! And watch how many prospects buy from you as they say, “I just kept thinking about all that we talked about at that networking event, and you were top of mind”. There you go, sales Rockstar!