Networking Ideas You’ll Love

Peady’s Selling Engagement

An important part (some would say critical part) of finding new customers or prospects is networking and while daunting for some it can be a very powerful tool.
One of my favourite sales trainers Jeffrey Gitomer said: “networking is life skills and social skills combined with sales skills” – his article ‘21.5 Best Places to Network’ nails it.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Networking done properly is a two-way street that benefits both parties. When I say ‘done properly’ I mean that the interaction must be of value. Its not just meeting people, its connecting with them!

Here’s 7 ways to help make your networking stronger, more robust and effective.

1. Calendarise your networking

If you have time blocked out for networking it’s a great way to manage yourself and devote some time to an important process. Allocate at least an hour per week specifically focused on expanding your network.
2. Think outside the box

Don’t be predictable in your networking. For example

  • When a speech ends meet the speaker, then reach out on LinkedIn
  • When someone gets a new job send a congratulatory text

Why not find an “outside the box” way to meaningfully engage?

You’ll stand out from the pack and increase your likelihood of success.

3. Become “shockingly helpful”

This phrase comes from HubSpot CTO and founder Dharmesh Shah. Each month be “shockingly helpful” to at least 10 people. Start with a list of who you can help in your immediate network and then expand from there. The rewards will be amazing.
4. Shake up your social network

Review your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn connections. Resolve to follow another 5 new people each week – identify those you wouldn’t normally connect with. This opens your perspective and you never know what might happen from there.
5. Rethink your F2F networking strategy

Many people attend events and spend time with those they know. The whole point should be to make new contacts – approach every event with a plan to identify people you’d like to meet and then connect with all of them. Remember if you seek the valuable time of an industry leader, make sure you can offer something in return.

6. Take the journalist’s approach

Ask questions that uncover what people know or love about a subject – thought provoking questions, interesting questions that go beyond small talk help to allow your “new friend” to engage and provide interesting stories and information. 

7. Make networking a priority!

To use the Nike phrase “just do it”. Networking shouldn’t be negotiable, as I said in the introductory paragraph it is vital to your ongoing selling success.
Until next week, good networking!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]