SALES TIPS FROM STRONG CLOSER READERS
Sometimes it Takes Many Exposures to Make Networking Work for You
Most people you meet at networking don’t have an immediate need for what you offer, or an opportunity to refer you. Multiple exposures are the key to being top of mind when they do.
Every salesperson knows about networking as a good source of new leads. So I thought I’d try it. I’m a digital graphic artist, specializing in websites and content for digital signage. On the advice of some of my colleagues I picked two local business associations and found out when they have their meetings. I made a point of going to a meeting at each of them. Just as the experts say, I introduced myself to a number of people and told them what I do, I gave them my business cards and took theirs for follow-up, and I even sent out follow-up emails with information about my services. Then I waited to see what return I would get on my time. I didn’t generate a single sale from those meetings. To say the least, I was getting discouraged.
Since attending those events proved not to be effective, I decided to try other ones, and I started to think about what else I could get besides leads from these meetings. One group I found particularly interesting. It was a forum for computer experts and entrepreneurs. There was always a speaker about a new development in computer technology. Since I was interested in the information, I continued going to this one.
An interesting thing has just happened. I got a call for someone whom I’ve seen at these meetings for several months now, who had a colleague that needed computer graphics for a presentation program. The next day I started working on the project. (Interestingly enough, the same person says that he knows others who can use my services.)
As I think about it, networking did work for me. But it’s not a one-shot thing. For a service like mine, it takes multiple exposures to the same group of people so that they get to know me and what I do. And I cannot control the timing of my sale; if they know who I am and have built some trust in me, they will contact me when they have a need.
M. Heller, Framingham, MA