“The opposite of networking is not working”
Networking is an essential skill for any salesperson. As a very social profession, business relationships are the key to success, whether it’s in terms of making a sale, expanding your client list or opening the door to new opportunities. That’s why the ability to not just make, but maintain personal connections as well as getting your name out there goes a long way in sales, as it differentiates the average from the exceptional. Developing these skills takes practice, but through attending networking events, you will gain experience and confidence in these kinds of business interactions, preparing you to excel in a sales career.
The Top 5 Networking Skills Used in Sales
1. Face-to Face Meeting Skills
In sales you need to be comfortable interacting with clients face to face, as in person interactions are where business relationships are formed and sales are made. This makes it crucial that you are able to speak and conduct yourself in a professional and confident manner, in addition to being able to easily converse with many different kinds of people.
2. Making a Positive First Impression
First impressions set the tone for business relationships. In sales, where you are constantly meeting and pitching to new clients, it’s important to be able to consistently present yourself in a positive light. This allows you to establish a reputation as someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy and favourably positions you in the minds of clients.
3. Delivering a Quality Elevator Pitch
While in traditional networking, elevator pitches are often limited to selling yourself, they expand way beyond that in sales. As a 20-40 second persuasive monologue, elevator pitches are used by every salesperson in order to sell either a product, service or project. These pitches need to be tailored to each client, with the best salespeople knowing when and how to leverage each unique selling proposition. Often being the making or breaking point of a sale, your success at selling is contingent on your ability to pitch.
Networking to get a job and trying to make a sale alike, often do not result in immediate gain. These processes take time to generate results, especially in sales, therefore you need to remain patient. This means maintaining a positive attitude and not placing too much pressure on a client, as that can not only kill the deal, but also the relationship.
Traditionally, networking often entails a follow up, where you solidify a relationship through following the initial interaction with either a message or call. This is no different in sales. To solidify a sale and ensure a relationship established with a client is maintained, you need to be proactive in the follow up process. This demonstrates your value of the clients and results in increased loyalty.