Networking. Networking is still an essential way to build your business and increase sales. From large events such as trade shows and conferences to one-on-one meetings, it can help you connect with people and open new opportunities. Unfortunately, too many people become reclusive when they rely on social media as their primary form of networking. This is particularly true for sole proprietors who run a home-based business.
The most successful sales professionals will tell you that they attend at least one or two networking events every week. A job search executive advises his clients to schedule at least 3 networking appointments every day. This certainly may not be possible for a sales person but I would suggest that one daily networking meeting would lead to more business.
Referrals. Next to networking, referrals are often one of the most effective ways to generate new sales. Yet, the vast majority of people don’t consistently ask for them even though the likelihood of closing a sale is considerably higher with a referral than any other method. I’m not suggesting that you slide a sheet of paper across your customer’s desk and ask for a list of ten people you can contact. Although some industries still used this outdated approach, I personally think it is ineffective.
Many people don’t know how to ask for referrals so they don’t integrate this concept into their routine. Some people feel that asking for a referral is akin to begging for business. However, if your clients and customers are satisfied with your solution, they will be more than willing to recommend you.
Visibility. Ever heard the expression, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Participating in social media groups such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter and posting to industry blogs can definitely improve your online presence. However many of your prospects don’t engage in social media activities, so it is critical to be physically visible to the outside world. Nothing trumps a face-to-face connection. If you are not keeping your name in your customer’s mind, you run the risk of losing their business to a competitor.
The telephone is an old piece of technology that can help you maintain your visibility. I know several people who schedule regular “coffee meetings” via telephone and this allows them to stay connected with customers and other people in their network.
Speaking. Another effective way to establish credibility and generate new business leads is to speak at trade shows and conferences, local networking meetings, Rotary Clubs and association meetings. Most cities have dozens of these types of events scheduled every month and many of them are constantly looking for people who can deliver an informative and engaging presentation. They key here is to provide quality information, not a glorified sales pitch about your company or products. Presentations range in length from 20 minutes to a few hours and the format can vary from keynote to seminar to workshop.
I won’t dispute the fact that Sales 2.0 is here to stay AND that it can help you grow your business. However, it is a big mistake to believe that it replaces some fundamental concepts that have been effective for many decades. Consistently integrate these four strategies into your daily and weekly routine and you will achieve consistent results.