According to the Inc. article, “How to Network to Increase Sales,”
If you routinely return from a networking event with a pocketful of business cards that aren’t useful to you, you need to rethink your strategy. While it’s good to make friends, it’s better to make money.
The difficulty is that while networking is a useful sales tool and many business professionals want to believe they can utilize it to improve sales growth, too many find that networking events become social connections rather than sales opportunities. If your intent is to increase sales, you need to ask yourself some very basic questions before your next networking event:
- What is your return on investment on your networking opportunities?
- How much time do you spend networking?
- How many sales have resulted from your networking?
- Are there more effective ways of making a sale?
As the Inc. article suggests,
The key focus of your networking should be the building of business relationships. Sales will often follow but first you have to put down the cornerstone by establishing business relationships that provide you with the opportunity to meet other people and expand your contact list.
To do this and to utilize networking fully, you need to:
- Choose your network events wisely: select the right target market
- Network with the right people: know who you want to meet
- Network with a plan in place: know how you will meet them
- Make the right first impression: make the conversation memorable
- Follow up after the event: cultivate the relationship further
If you are wondering specifically how to follow up afterwards, here are some tips:
- Review all the business cards you received at the event
- Develop a plan of where you want each relationship to go (i.e. sales, referral)
- Send a follow-up email to acknowledge the meeting
- Include in your email a question, relevant information, and/or a proposal to get together to talk further
- Continue to follow up to keep the relationship going
Sales are all about building the right relationships. At 3rd Eagle, we know that. We help build strategic alliances. And along with relationships we further sales growth.
Passive relationships seldom bear fruit. Focus on those relationships that you can manage and trust for growth.
If you aren’t going to follow up, you are just socializing or you like eating cheese and drinking cheap wine.
We can help you meet your sales goals. Contact us for assistance in identifying the strategic alliances that can help your business become successful.