When my friend Lonnie took on his first sales role, he was unsuccessful and couldn’t understand why. So, he made a point to observe his teammates interacting with clients as they closed deals and reached their target goals until he finally realized what it was: His colleagues weren’t just making sales; they were making connections.
Lonnie soon recognized the true importance of being in the right mindset and taking on the right approach. Instead of jumping straight in and simply trying to close a deal, his team members made a point to connect with clients on a deeper level. He witnessed this as they asked questions like, “Tell me more about your business?” “What are your goals and ambitions?” or “How can I assist you?”
Embrace the Right Way of ThinkingBy using a networking mindset, Lonnie’s colleagues fostered connections to find the best way to provide the most value to their clients. When doing this, they demonstrated a genuine interest in trying to understand their clients’ needs, which influenced buying decisions in a positive way. Even when they were candid and told their client the service wasn’t right for them, a new level of confidence was gained through this honesty, which strengthened their connection. This helped to create the foundation for a meaningful relationship while establishing trust, which, when formed, makes a big difference.
As a salesperson, the better your relationships, the better your insights and the ability to offer the right types of solutions. It also opens you to many opportunities. As said by hall of fame speaker and bestselling author Bob Burg, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.” Not only that, there’s a greater chance they’ll take your calls and recommend you to others too.
Your biggest sales will always be done through your relationships, and of course, through the right way of thinking. Here are five ways to embrace a networking mindset which will immediately kickstart your sales success:
1. Establish Rapport
Remember, they’re not just a client, but a person too. As Lonnie learned, it’s beneficial to take the time to really get to know each other and connect on another level. Invite them out to chat over coffee or grab a quick lunch. In addition to asking more about their business or how you could support them, ask about their likes or dislikes. What are they passionate about? Do they have any triggers or hot points? This will help you gain further insights into how you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
2. Offer Something of Value
While your product or service provides worth to your customer, what else do you bring to the table? Now that you’ve established rapport and know them better, offer them something valuable. For example, share an article that is relevant to their business initiatives or introduce them to your colleague who can provide advice on their latest project. Adding value is a basic networking tenet that lends itself to high success in sales.
3. Be in Touch
As stated by famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins, “Proximity is power.” Make it a habit to reach out to your clients on a regular basis. Call or send an email or text message just to say hello. Do this consistently to keep on their radar. Remember that out of sight is out of mind! If they don’t hear from you, they may not think about you. And if you’re not in front of them, then someone else will be.
4. Really Listen and Be Present
Practice good communication and listening skills when speaking with your client. Ask questions that reflect on your discussion such as, “Do you have any time management tips to share?” If meeting in-person, maintain eye contact, nod your head and smile, or show another gesture when appropriate to acknowledge you really hear what they are saying. Forming bonds and finalizing a sale comes easier if you’re present in the moment and in tune with them. If your product is the same as someone else’s, your client will choose yours because of the connection you’ve developed.
5. Play the Long Game
Don’t just focus on right now; concentrate on creating trust and a foundation for a sustained association down the road. This could lead to referrals through your clients’ network or being top-of-mind even when your client switches companies. Networking is about giving, and if you’ve taken the time to establish and nurture authentic relationships, your sales pipeline will follow.
A networking mindset plays a significant role in achieving a profitable sales career. And it’s not just about making a sale; it’s about aiming to form what’s hopefully a long-term connection that provides a mutual benefit. Employing the right frame of mind and focusing on relationship-building will ultimately lead to success in sales.
Looking for other ways to add value to sales conversations? Check out “Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: What Vanilla Ice Can Teach You About Sales.”