I can have moments of being blunt. For example, I once told a client they had to “get out from behind their bloody computer” (if you don’t know me in person, you have to picture this being said in a British accent).
One of the most frustrating things about prospecting can be finding your customers.
The first place many businesses turn to is the internet. It holds so much promise – almost immediate access to 3.4 billion people, or 46 percent of the world’s population. Yet to some marketers it can feel like being ignored by 3.4 billion people. Finding your ‘tribe’ can feel frustrating and reaching them so they engage in your sales process can feel like a chasm.
Which is why you need to go out and meet people, and to start networking for sales. Direct face-to-face contact gives you the opportunity to talk about your technology, to practice sharing your vision, mission and elevator pitch – and gives you unparalleled opportunity to engage and gather direct feedback. I love meeting people because it also creates opportunities. It’s a powerful way to grow your business.
Some tips to help you as you venture out from behind your computer screen and go out and meet people:
- Don’t go to EVERY event. Remember that you want to meet relevant people, so keep the audiences you want to target front of mind and consider relevant events
- Have business cards or flyers to share. If your campaign or launch isn’t live but scheduled, add in the date. Include your contact details and also a short overview of your campaign.
- Don’t sell. Networking is about just that: building up a network – so spend time getting to know people, asking about their business – and ask how you can help them
- If people ask how they can help you, don’t say: ‘give me money’ – tell them about the audiences you want to serve, and ask for feedback, ideas or contacts they may have
- Don’t judge by appearances.
- Actually network. By this I mean don’t just latch on to one person or stand in a corner. Circulate and maximize your time at each event.
- Collect business cards – ask people for their contact details and be ready to share yours
- Organize these cards as soon as you get back to your office or home after the meeting. Add notes, prioritize and commit time to following up with new contacts
- Follow up – send personalized notes to people you met – and if you said that you will do or send anything, then commit and complete those actions.
So where to go out and meet people if you’re networking for sales? Here’s some ideas:
- Startup and technology events. If you’re in the Boston area, we love this list of events created by Greenhorn Connect.
- Local and business associations including the Chamber of Commerce. Online research can easily help you find a number of these. As well as events that they will hold or sponsor, check out award dinners and cultural events
- Events hosted by local publications. For example the ‘Business Journal’ publications, which cover more than 40 metropolitan areas in the USA
- Technology associations
- Business networking and referral associations
- Professional trade associations’ events
- Check meetup.com for events
You can also hold your own events or start your own schedule of presentation, both in-person and online (though we love in-person – our upcoming events includes a range of in-person workshops).
Looking for advice on how to narrow down a seemingly elusive 3.4 billion people to a much smaller number of relevant prospects that you can help and work with? Join us at one of our sales workshops (because, hey, we practice what we preach).