- Posted by Steve Gruber
- On May 25, 2017
- 0 Comments
- account management, B2B Sales, sales networking
One of the challenging things for any professional, and this includes salespeople, is networking and then keeping that network you have built warm.
I know for me, it took a number of years to realize the value of consistent networking. When I was just starting out in sales I don’t think I really even paid attention to it nor understood the value. It is now though, 20 years later that I see more and more value in building and maintaining my personal network. Like anything else though, it takes time, effort and continuous investment. The great thing is that almost everyone who networks even a little knows this so when some time has passed between your last contact with that particular person, don’t be afraid to reach out. Anyone maintaining a network knows how busy things get. For a minute, think about the last time you reached out to old college or university friends – how long has that been? Would they be upset if you reached out? More than likely not, unless you owed them some money or something from an old hockey pool :).
As an example of the power of networking and keeping it warm even after time has passed, a few weeks ago I met with an old contact of mine from about 4 years earlier. This person had taken a new job at a senior level of a firm doing $50 million in revenue per year in the industrial space. I reached out to see if we could meet so I could learn more about the company he is with and the new role he is in. He was up for that – we met for a coffee and during the conversation, it became apparent that one of the pain points his new employer was having could be solved by a solution one of my clients has. The next thing you know, a meeting is lined up for my client to speak to my contact in regards to their solution.
I have outlined below a few tips for networking in B2B sales and keeping those leads warm:
Set goals on a monthly basis for the number of networking meetings
I personally try for 5 to 10 and these can be calls, f2f meetings etc….
Investing time is key
Now that you have set the goals, be sure to set aside the time (and it doesn’t have to be in person, it can be a phone call or Skype call too).
Mix up who you meet
One trick I found useful was to select different people in different verticals to connect with on a regular basis – this helps to keep your network fresh.
There does not have to be a specific reason
Sometimes just catching up and learning what that person does or their new role is all you need to discuss. It doesn’t have to revolve around a particular product or service.
Look for interesting networking events
These could be something like a Sales Peer to Peer workshop or a Startup Meet & Greet or a more tailored event put on by your alma mater.
When leveraging your network for a meeting, make sure the meeting brings some value, your contact does not have to purchase it, but it should add some value to them from an interest or thought perspective.
One of the most successful relationships I have from a networking perspective is one where I refer to my contact and he refers back on a regular basis – this becomes a great conduit for sales leads and success.
Remember, networking doesn’t have to be going to all kinds of events in the evening or the morning or at lunch – it can be – but it can also be one on one or small group meetings where you catch up with peers, old colleagues, past classmates etc…
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