The power of connecting with others and how building a robust network is crucial to growing a business
A well known saying in sales and business is ‘ it’s not what you know, it’s who you know ‘.
I feel this is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s climate than ever before. People are better researched than ever before and therefore one of the most integral elements of sales is trust. The quickest and most effective way to build trust is for your connections to share with your prospective customers their experience in dealing with you and your business. Your reputation is what people will say about you, when you are not there. Its therefore imperative that you build a network of connections that like and trust you and will therefore speak highly of you.
In order to build this network, you need to connect with your clients on all social media platforms. You need to join and contribute to the social media groups they’re involved with, so you stay at the forefront of their mind and are always seen as the ‘go to’ expert in their area. Therefore, when one of their connections ask the all-important question of ‘do you know anyone who can help me with….?’ Your name is the first to pop up in their head.
There was a study by Harvard Business Review on the power of recommendations. The study found two very interesting findings. Firstly, according to Harvard everybody knows 1,000 people. So, think about your connections and now think about who they’re connected with. Secondly, Harvard found that 90% of your customers would recommend you to their connections; only 10% of sales people ask the question.
Having trained over 26,000 sales professionals around the world, it amazes me how many of them do NOT ask to be recommended to their client’s connections. When asked why, they explained a few reasons.
- Firstly, they’re concerned it will look pushy.
- Secondly, they’re worried it will appear desperate.
- Thirdly, they feel if their customers want to recommend them then surely, they would off their own back.
I disagreed with all three of these views and had a totally different perspective. To answer their third point saying ‘customer would recommend you off their own back, let me put that to you. Whenever you have received great service or bought a great product, have you immediately called your connections and recommended they speak to the salesperson who sold you the product or service? Of course not, because that’s not real life. I am sure if it came up in conversation and one of your connections asked about that product/ service, then you would recommend the salesperson reactively. This is more luck and sales professionals don’t rely on luck. To address their first two concerns, about being pushy or desperate, my thoughts are our job is to help people solve their problems. Therefore, if I have helped someone, why can’t I try and help their connections as well?
So, what’s the most effective way to ask?
Imagine you swapped jobs with me. So, tomorrow you were MD of TMI Sales training Academy, a sales training company. We train any company around the World that sells, such as hotels, recruitment companies, estate agents, tech businesses etc. This is your company now and you must go out there and win your first client that potential needs sales training.
Who would you call?
Think about your current role, an opportunity for sales training? Think about where you used to work, were you in sales, sales manager, sales director? Think about your friends or family; any of them in sales, sales manager, sales director or a business owner with a sales team? Please write down the first person you’d call to try and win your first client for your business.
Now if you could please email the person you wrote down and CC me in on firstname.lastname@example.org saying ‘you read a great article from the owner of a sales training company that you feel could help their business’, that would be sincerely appreciated.