At a sales networking event I overheard a conversation between a consultant promoting QuickBooks support and a potential prospect. The consultant was using terms like, “In my opinion….”, “what you don’t want to do is……”, and “our system and process can save you money.” He knew I was well versed in marketing so when I asked if he wanted some feedback, he sheepishly said, “sure.”
Most salespeople sell at networking events, successful ones build credibility. Here’s how to turn cold contacts into a hot network!
I mentioned many marketing experts recommend using third party reference instead of personal opinion to make a point. His response was, “I have to demonstrate my expertise so they’ll want to do business with me.” He was telling and selling, the same thing that 95% of the people working the network room were doing. They were all taking turns at making their pitch.
Successful marketers/salespeople understand most people love to talk about themselves and their business, and allow this to work to their advantage. If you utilize a consultative selling approach with those people you meet by clarifying their problems (in this setting the need to promote their business) and creating solutions (introduce them to others that might need their service) you will increase your credibility and demonstrate how you work.
Doug Staneart, CEO of BuildingYourTeam.com states in an article, Increase Your Sphere of Influence, “People do business with and refer people to people they know, like and trust. So your goal during a networking function is not to sell, but to get more people to know you, like you, and trust you.”
If you spend your time getting to know about others and how you might be able to help them it does a few things.
- It demonstrates your ability to ask interesting questions and listen. Prospective clients like this.
- Listening with a motive of learning will demonstrate care and builds trust.
- People like others that listen to them.
- If you are able to introduce them or refer them to someone, they will know more about you and that you care about them.
- If you follow up with a card after the event it will demonstrate you are a cut above and you care.
I am also a supporter of leaving cards in the car or bringing in only a few. If they really want your card they will allow you to mail or drop one by. If they are someone you want to build a network with, dropping off a card will give you another quick opportunity to build the relationship.