Networking is a great way for entrepreneurs and professional sellers to generate leads and get appointments with prospects. More leads- more appointments- more sales. The formula is pretty simple.
Why then are so many not taking full advantage of the networking opportunities they have?
I hear a lot: “I’m just not a good networker.” That’s an attitude issue which has a fairly simple fix. Change your thoughts and believe something different!
Another reason is lack of skills and knowledge. That’s a simple fix too! It involves learning networking best practices and applying them. After all, when you learn something new, you can do what you were doing better. Better actions lead to better results.
Networking can take many forms. While these principles apply to most networking opportunities, I am primarily addressing the networking mixer in this article.
I’ve broken networking “to do’s” into 3 time frames:
1) Pre event
2) During event
3) Post event
I’m not going to tell you what to do. I’m going to share with you what I do. It will be up to you to decide what you will do.
Before getting into the event details, here are two of the best definitions of networking I’ve come across. Ad three fatal errors to avoid:
1) Networking is an attitude involving building relationships and resources. A positive attitude is everything. In the bigger picture, its an approach to life and not just a thing to do. Your attitude toward networking will impact your results. If you would rather not be at an event, do one of two things: Don’t go or change your attitude. If you choose to go, make it a positive experience. It may pay off big time! I had a networking connection turn into a client who has engaged with me for over $25,000.. I think that’s pretty cool.
2) Networking is a method of accomplishing goals through the power of synergy and teamwork. The goal of building networks is to contribute to others. It requires a shift from focusing on yourself and your needs to the Joy of Giving. I regularly give referrals to colleagues in my network. They think that’s pretty cool! Continue reading
ThESE Quotes are taken from the book “He Can Who Thinks He Can.” It was published in 1908 by Orison Swett Marden, the founder of Success magazine (1850-1924.)
It’s significant to note that they were underlined by the hand of John Patterson. He is widely considered the father of sales training. Enjoy them!
- Self-reliance is the best capital in the world.
- Self-deprecation is a crime.
- The greatest enemies of achievement are fear, doubt and vacillation.
- Every child should be taught to expect success.
- If others can do such wonderful things why can not I?
It is significant to note that the following are UNIVERSAL LAWS.
However, It is not enough to just know them or be familiar with them.
You will accomplish all that you want with certainty, when they are mastered. In light of that, you should seek mastery.
Moreover, it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in THE LAWS. In fact, they are still always at work.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter if one day you stop believing in gravity. If you go to the top of a 10 story building and jump off of the roof, you will always go down. That’s the way laws such as this work.
I spoke on this topic back in 2014 at a Toastmasters International conference to a standing ovation. The full presentation is available below.
Here are THE LAWS:
When professional sellers tell me they have lost sales to price, it’s like hearing nails raking down a chalkboard. Especially if it has happened over and over.
Some people only buy on price. That’s reality. It is possible to minimize the number of people just buying on price though.
Here is what to do
Price is a part of every buying decision. It’s important to realize that it can be less of a factor though, if the goals of the first three steps of the selling process are met: Continue reading
“…at some stage ‘entrepreneurship’ is not sufficient and the nature of the organization must change, together with the people who run it.” Eric Flamholtz “Growing Pains”
How well do you cope with the endless day to day problems in your business? AND simultaneously keep an eye on it’s future direction? Both are critical. However you will need the right tools to do both; the Tools of Professional Management.
In this case, I recommend that every entrepreneur use the following tools. My challenge to you is to review them. Then ask “How well is this being put to use in my organization?” Commit to doing something about it if you are not satisfied with the answer. In fact, that is the only way anything will change.
The Tools of Professional Management
This process is a critical resource for managing growth and development. It defines the company’s future direction and provides a focus for everyone’s efforts. At the very least, planning should include:
- Objectives, and
- Action steps to achieve goals.
Strategic planning helps employees start to understand the direction the company is taking. Also their role in its development.
Excellent technical skills are a must for any business. Outstanding verbal skills are also, as they influence customer service, sales, team effectiveness, efficiency, and turnover. If you say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way, you risk losing customers and prospect opportunities. You jeopardize effective communication with everybody.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, you are also in the business of interacting with people. This requires developing and managing both new and ongoing relationships. You must have a good understanding of persuasion and influence. In other words, you need to know how to get the outcomes you really want by using the power of your words.
There is a very thin line in any dialogue between being tactful and persuasive and not being understood. Or being confrontational. Which do you think leads to better outcomes?
I have listed a few things to be aware of saying or not saying. I have also explained the “why” for you.
With a few small changes you will find yourself getting much better results! Continue reading
I talk with clients a lot about effective questioning as part of the sales process. (Notice I said “effective questioning.”)
In his book “To Sell is Human”, Dan Pink gives the reason that questioning is so powerful. The book is a study of the psychology of moving people aka: Sales. (I do this type of studying so you don’t have to if you don’t want!)
The significance lies in the core of how questions operate. Let’s contrast this first with a statement.
When you make a statement, it can be received passively. You know, in one ear and out the other. This is what happens when you “pitch.” And why a pitch so often falls on deaf ears. Telling is not selling. It’s certainly not helping a prospect buy from you.
When you ask a question, the receiver is compelled to respond. Either aloud if the question is direct, or silently if it is rhetorical.
That requires at least a bit of effort on the part of your prospect. Or as researchers say ”more intensive processing of message content.” That’s the key! Make your prospect think. Continue reading
As a business owner, you wear many hats. One of them is VP of Sales and Marketing. This role is responsible for lead generation and turning prospects into clients. Sales are the fuel which keeps your business engine running. For this reason, filling your sales pipeline needs to be a non-stop endeavor.
How well do you perform in the VP Sales and Marketing role? Just ask yourself these questions:
- How are you doing with your sales plan for 2017?
- How good is your “sales system?”
- Do you have a “sales system?”
- Does your “sales system” help you and your team create the level of success you want?
- How well does it measure?
Are you 100% satisfied with the way you answered these questions?
The problem is that many entrepreneurs don’t have a sales process in place that creates success. In particular, one that fills the funnel and the pipeline consistently, even when they are busy with current customers or clients.
Here are six things that will make your sales process work better in 2017.
Vision is one of the least understood concepts of small business strategic planning. It is a powerful tool for your business, yet is often overlooked. Following is a summary of “Become Extraordinary Through Your Vision,” a video by Dewitt Jones. This is one of the best descriptions of the importance of a Vision Statement you will find.
“A vision is a statement about where or who you want your company or yourself to be in the future as compared with where or who, you or it is today.
It sets direction clearly by pointing to something you or your company isn’t currently, yet fully intends to become.
Create an extraordinary vision. With it you will create:
- Pictures that show you the possibilities the world has to offer
If you can change your relationship with goal setting, you can change any area of your business or life for the better.
Here are 10 reasons, in no particular order, to be better at goal setting both personally and professionally:
1) Goals help you establish direction, define actions, and measure progress.
Successful people use goals to be successful. Goals help them know:
- Where they are going,
- What they need to do, and
- If they are on track.
2) Goals help build confidence.