Its amazing when you have a target market how it changes everything you do. I realized a few weeks ago, some of the networking I was doing was not a good use of my time. The problem was not that there was a lack of good people there, but rather my target market wasn't there. It was time to adapt. All networking has an expiration date, but this was different. I looked at my sales philosophy, the one written on a sticky note behind my computer that tempers everything I now do, and realized I needed to change how I network. The sticky note reads:
In "Lead vs Referrals" I talked about the difference between a lead and a referral and why referrals are superior to leads, but the question arises, "How do you get people to refer you instead of giving you leads?" The answer is purposeful and tactful coaching. The best people at getting referrals do not get them by accident. They ask and coach.
The first step is networking. You must have a business network that is actively looking for leads for you. They must be the types of colleagues that are in the right place. After all, sales is just two things: Being around the people who want or need to buy your product, or being around the people who are around the people who have the want or need to buy your product. Many people try to do this at the networking event. It usually goes something like this: "Hi, how are you?. Will you please refer me because I do x,y, and z and it's fantastic." This is technically selling which is one of the big no-nos of networking. See point two in "Why Networking is important and Tips for Success."
If you can effectively develop relationships your sales efforts will go from good to great. However, it is important to understand the difference between leads vs. referrals. Most people who get leads from business relationships, think they are referrals and that they have succeeded. This is not true. There is a difference between a lead and a referral. Understanding this difference will change the way you call, email, or text leads, and a large difference in how you get the business from that person. Let's look at the difference.
In order to network effectively, it is important to be aware of why networking is important. Understanding why networking is important will keep you motivated and focused. As a networker, I know that it is difficult to stay motivated when you have to drive half way across town for another meeting, especially if you already know most the people in the room. Once you get there, it is even harder to stay focused on the work of networking instead of catching up with your friends. It has been my experience that salespeople either need to spend time finding people ready to buy, or spend time finding people who are around people who are ready to buy my product. The second part is networking. Unfortunately, most people do not use networking effectively. My hope is that these 5 points in this post will remind you of the purpose of networking and help you stay motivated and focused on growing your sales through your network.