Sales professionals sometimes forget that people buy you. We get so caught up pushing our products or services that we lose sight of the importance of networking.
Today on The Sales Evangelist, Jordan Harbinger, host of The Jordan Harbinger Show podcast, explains that networking isn’t just about interacting with famous or popular people, but rather about finding those who are a good fit. Networking is a little like finding the needle in the haystack.
When Jordan was in high school, he took advantage of the fact that he was the smart kid; but when he got to college, everyone was smart. He still had a leg up because while they were drinking and partying, he outworked them.
When he got to Wall Street, his competitive advantage was gone because everyone was smart and hard-working.
Jordan started his career believing that networks just happened. He got hired by a firm where the partner was rarely in the office, but Jordan didn’t realize he was out generating business for the firm.
He discovered then that he needed to figure out how to be liked, known, and trusted if he was going to get to the top of the law game.
Jordan dedicated himself to learning how to create and maintain authentic relationships that would result in opportunities later on. He discovered that it demands a set of soft skills and habits, as well as personality.
It’s not an optional skillset: it’s the foundation of everything else.
Many people decide that in a sea of to-do’s, once the platform is built, they’ll focus on networking, but it’s far too important to skip.
If you skip networking as you’re building your business, you’re not immune to the consequences. You’re being willfully ignorant of the secret game being played around you.
People buy you, so you must work to make sure they know who you are.
Networking events that are open to the public will generally be a waste of your time (with the exception being Chamber of Commerce meeting where most people are business owners.)
If you’re in a room with whoever wants to show up, you’re likely in a room with newbies and people who want something from you. And if you decide to go anyway in an attempt to add value, you’ll give to those takers and they won’t likely reciprocate.
If you aren’t getting invited to curated events, begin networking online to try to generate those invitations. If they still don’t come, create your own curated event and invite people that you think should know each other.
If you’re looking to Always Be Closing, you’re also fishing for a needle in a haystack. As a graphic designer, for example, that means you’re looking for people who need graphics so you can close a deal with them.
Instead, choose to Always Be Giving, so you can help even those people who don’t need your goods and services. You’ll have the opportunity to create relationships with people who can help you down the road.
You’ll generate social capital because you’ll help them solve a problem without expecting anything in return.
The biggest mistake sales professionals make is trying to turn every relationship into a quid pro quo. If you turn every interaction into a sale, people will stop interacting because they know there’s a pitch coming.
Dig the well before you’re thirsty. Build relationships now so you’ll have them when you need them. Waiting until you need them is like putting a spare tire in your trunk when your tire is already flat.
If you got laid off tomorrow, who are the 10 you’d reach out to?
You can connect with Jordan on his podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show. Jordan taps into wisdom from the most successful people on earth to understand their perspectives and gain insight into their lives.
Jordan’s first podcast, The Art of Charm, will help you learn how to initiate a conversation with anyone.
Jordan also offers training that will transform your network at his website jordanharbinger.com/course.
Our friends at Wiley have provided a free excerpt of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading. Based on research and interviews with buyers, the book provides a blueprint for sales professionals. Read an excerpt of the book here.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.
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Sometimes, your customers shouldn’t buy from you. We don’t often think about that as sales professionals, but we should. Sometimes, their objections are correct.
In today’s episode, we discuss why you should empathize with your customers and put yourself in their shoes. The more empathetic we are, the more likely we are to persuade them to purchase our product or service. We’ll build credibility.
Recently, for example, I generated a Facebook podcast that asked people about the biggest problem they have with sellers. The most frequent response was that people didn’t like how pushy salespeople were.
We aren’t all pushy, of course, but we have to deal with that public perception. Obviously, we want to make money, but we can’t allow that to be our push.
Your job as a sales professional is to persuade people to buy your product or service. We often focus on making money instead of adding value.[Tweet “Our goal as sales professionals should be to find solutions to challenges rather than pushing a sale for our own gain.” #SalesSolutions]
When you empathize with your customers and establish credibility, your customer will be more likely to recognize you as the solution to her problems.
Establish what sets you apart from the competition. Identify the ways your prospect is seeking to disqualify you as an option. You’ll be better prepared to create content that is molded to your customer.
If you or your team could benefit from learning to build value with your prospects, the April semester of The Sales Associate Hustler’s League is a group coaching program designed to help sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and sellers of all levels.
Each week’s training addresses concepts or training relevant to the theme of the training. For the month of April, it’s building value. Visit thesalesevangelist.com/hustlers.
There’s nothing like expressing gratitude towards other people. A simple thank you is fine, but wouldn’t it be nice if you show your clients how much you really value them?
We all want to feel appreciated. But instead of doing the generic things, make it personal.
I highly recommend you do the Platinum Rule.
The Golden Rule states that you treat others the way you want to be treated.
But the Platinum Rule trumps this in have to treat others they way they want to be treated.
Find out what they appreciate the most.
1. Send a gift.
If they like ball games, take them to a basketball game or football game in your area. Or if they love a certain resto, send them a little gift card.
Do this throughout the year. Showing gratitude doesn’t only need to happen at the end of the year. Show them you care and do it throughout the year. Just show them you care.
2. Send a note.
Make sure it’s customized. Send them a Thank You mail. No one keeps generic thank you cards. But that would stand out in their mind. It’s worth it to do something like that.
3. Publicly affirm your clients.
Do a post about them on LinkedIn.Endorse them. Share something about their business. Everyone loves flattery. Sharing that show them you appreciate them. Share some referrals.
4. Show swag.
Send them your company shirts or mugs. Send them something with your brand on it. They can be you’re walking billboard.
5. Create custom spotlight.
If you have a blog, bring the spotlight to your clients and highlight them. If you have a newsletter, you can spotlight one of your top clients once a month. Or interview them and create a blog post about them.
6. Refer customers to them.
This is totally appreciate. Again, it’s moreso the relationship that’s important here.
7. Host a special event to acknowledge your customers.
Event them to an event you’re doing. Or have a client appreciation event at a trade show. Invite them to come to that dinner.
8. Send unexpected discount to them.
9. Reach out to your clients.
If you travel to an area and there are clients living in that area, go ahead and reach out to them. Take them lunch or simply stop by their office.
Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.
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Another great episode of Sales from the Street, we have DeJuan Brown from Virginia. He is a husband to a beautiful wife and a father to six lovely children. DeJuan is a part of our private Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers. Now we’re bringing him on the show to share with us some great insights he learned over the years.
DeJuan has been in sales for roughly 14 years with a company selling paper products and is now in the research business with Bloomberg BNA. He considers himself as the “minutia exterminator” where he eliminates minutia in the lives of business people specifically around research solutions.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with DeJuan:
DeJuan’s major challenge when he first started selling: Being a human.
DeJuan was trying to figure out what he can fix with something he sells so that people can buy it. But oops! He realized it wasn’t really the key to success in this industry.
Prospects have told him that his approach was inhuman. Admittedly, he was one of those run-of-the-mill, digging, probing stereotype salespeople. His guards were up and prospects called him out telling him to slow down and find out more about the customer and the business before quickly jumping right in.
How can you be more human in dealing with your customers?
Take a step back from the sales role for a bit and put yourself in the shoes of those you’re trying to serve. Recognize that customers are people that you desire to serve and the best way to do it is to understand them. How? Ask questions.
You have more than just the product you’re selling but you have things that impact the lives of people you talk to if you spent enough time finding out what they needed and which areas they needed to be impacted. Find out their problems. Find out their pains.
The results DeJuan saw from implementing these:
Right now, DeJuan ranks #2 in the company and this just goes to show you how a simple little tweak in your behavior or mindset can catapult you into a whole new higher level in your career.
DeJuan’s Major Takeaway:
Find out why it is that you exist in the space that you exist in. Why is it that the company you represent exists? Then articulate those belief statements to those that you’re serving so that it resonates than just okay. Knowing your why is where the passion comes from and it allows you to be able to push and just not take a no because you believe that you offer is a service that they cannot get elsewhere.
Get a free trial on Audible by visiting www.audibletrial.com/tse
Bob Burg’s book, The Go-Giver
Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why