Networking is fun. It remains an enigma to me that more salespeople don’t use it to replace the cold call (which ain’t no fun). If you network smart, it’s the easiest way to make sales contacts. Hot sales contacts.
Here are 11.5 ways to win prospects and contacts at a networking event:
1. Target the people you want to meet.
2. Talk to them.
3. Get information from them that pertains to you.
4. Get them interested in what you do.
5. Categorize them on the back of their card as soon as you get it. (A. Wants my product. B. Knows someone who may want my product. C. Valuable contact. D. Professional contact. E. Social contact. F. Useless contact.
6. Qualify the contact. (If they’re a candidate to buy, when are they likely to do so?)
7. Establish some rapport and find some common ground. (Make friends.)
8. Remember the information they’ve given you. (Write it on the back of their card as soon as you finish the conversation.)
9. Make the next appointment.
10. Write the commitment made on the back of your card — the one that you give the prospect. Write the commitment on the back of the card he or she gave you.
11. Move on to the next person.
11.5 Follow up less than twenty-four hours after the event to confirm the commitment.
The paradox is that at a networking event everyone wants to sell. You may have to be a connector to help your prospect find connections (gather information) in order to have your best chance to be a seller. Networking success is dependent upon your ability to wear either hat.