Thursday, March 06, 2008

Network to Get Work - How Easy is it to Sell at Networking Events?

As you may know, I had a full page article published in The Sun newspaper this week under the headline 'Network to Get Work'. The Sun asked me to provide tips on networking based on seven questions often asked by small businesses. If you didn't see the article, I'll reproduce the questions here over the next few weeks, together with my response.

How Easy is it to Sell at Networking Events?

Going to a networking event does not provide the easiest opportunity to sell. There are few quicker ways to repel other people than going up to them and pitching. If you think about it, at most events you’re wasting your time trying to sell, as very few people attend looking to buy anything. Why would you try to sell to someone who’s not looking to buy?

That shouldn’t discourage you, however. You can certainly increase your sales through networking, even if you don’t sell direct at the event. Through networking you can find a lot of people who can spread the word about your business and introduce you to new customers. Many organisations, such as local Chambers of Commerce, put on large-scale local events monthly that will help you to raise your profile in the area and get more people talking about you. People have to know that you are there.

Focus on speaking with people who you get on with and where you find conversation easy. As one person once said to me, “pursue the relationship, not the sale”. Do that and you’ll find yourself developing a team of ‘champions’, people willing to tell everyone else about you and point new business in your direction.

The beauty of this approach is that, if your champions then need your services themselves, they’ll then come to you out of their own choice. In the meantime, they’ve been referring you left, right and centre. Far more valuable, wouldn’t you agree?

No comments:

Post a Comment