In this article, we’ll discuss five tips which should help you create powerful sales connections and build your career.
Developing a powerful network of sales connections trumps nearly anything else you might do to improve the numbers on your annual performance reports, but knowing that networking makes or breaks sales careers and knowing how to successfully forge those connections are two entirely different things. Fortunately, there are any number of ways to start reaching out and making those new sales connections. In this article, we’ll discuss five tips which should help you create powerful sales connections and build your career, whatever your current network may look like.
Perhaps the most basic bit of knowledge to have under your belt as a salesperson looking to make sales connections is an understanding of where to look for those connections. The best ways to network will vary wildly across industries.
Perhaps you work almost exclusively with local businesses owned by men and women active in community groups. Becoming a member of the local Chamber of Commerce becomes a clear first step for your networking endeavors. But if you’re working online, with a tech-savvier industry, then local organizations mean almost nothing-you want to find a relevant social media hub, instead.
Don’t get stuck on the big, obvious, general solutions whatever your industry. The Chamber of Commerce and LinkedIn are a beginning to sales connections, but you’ll forge the strongest networks by getting involved in smaller groups.
Building sales connections means selling yourself. The personal touch matters quite a bit when selling most things, but it becomes paramount when you’re trying to build a relationship. Know who you are talking to. What are their concerns, their hobbies, their business interests? People love to be known and to have people care about what they have to say.
Being treated as a faceless cog doesn’t convince people to buy, and it doesn’t convince them to work with you, so give up on generic approaches now and stop wasting everyone’s time. Possible sales connections should be treated as carefully and thoughtfully as any sales prospect.
It’s not enough to be likeable and good at making a first impression. If you can’t offer value to other people on one level or another, they aren’t going to keep doing business with you. Sales connections are about give and take-that give may not necessarily be something related to financial gain, but you can’t be a leech on your professional and personal acquaintances and expect to see successful long-term gains.
This goes back to the idea of selling yourself-a worthless product may move off the shelf, but it’s probably going to get returned, get bad reviews, and fail as the word gets out. Be useful, be valuable, be some else’s favorite sales connection.
Even local businesses have moved into the social media ecosphere, so no matter your industry some degree of social media usage matters. Build your pages and your presence as an active, productive participant in relevant communities, whether it be a fan page for something industry-relevant on Facebook, a niche discussion forum, or any other gathering of valuable potential connections. If you’re valuable to the community, members of the community will reach out to you and be receptive when you reach out to them.
It can be easy to forget the networks we have already built, but every person you know, privately or professionally, can be sales connections or potentially introduce you to valuable sales connections. A cousin working as a low-level employee at a company you’d like to sell to might offer a better ‘in’ than any amount of social media activity could give you, if he gets along well with the boss.
Remember than anyone can be a source of powerful sales connections-just don’t lose perspective and treat everyone as a tool. That will hurt your networking more than it could ever help.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.