In sales today you must build relationships. It is those relationships that will bring you long term business rather than short term gain.
If you put a networking process into your prospecting model, you will see better results from a customer and sales perspective. So how do you build a networking process? What do you need to do? Here are some ideas to help you.
- Encourage friendship and common interests. Find out what the prospective client likes to do and what sport or interest they may have. Providing their interests are legal and ethical, get involved and do something with that prospect through that common interest. Ask them to join you at the golf course, a sports game or theatre event; whatever may be of interest to them. Involve their partner in the process if that seems appropriate.
- Keep the prospect up to date with market or product updates that can help their business. Invite them to product or service information workshop and industry briefing. Let them test out some of your latest products or services.
- Get some other people in your team involved with the client so that the relationships broaden. Have your most experienced people touch base with your prospect.
- Have frequent coffee meetings or go to lunch. Keep those meetings of high value but not overly long to interfere with the client’s business day. Show respect for time and the client.
- Introduce the client or prospect to other like-minded clients of yours that you have worked with for some time. In this way the friendships can be built.
- Show interest in the clients business and put one of your experienced team members into the clients business for a few days or a week (at no cost to the client), so the systems and processes that the client operates with can be fully understood.
- Give the client some samples of your latest products to use and test. Ask them to give you feedback ‘as an industry based response’ for your head office team.
A lot of this may seem common sense, although experience says that much of it is not done enough today. When you get really involved with your prospect or client by giving them some tips and ideas to save them money or time, your long term client relationship will start to thrive. Good relationships and networking in business today are built from valuable contact.