By: Brad Seaman On: January 21, 2016 In: Lead Generation, Sales Process, Sales Training Tips Comments: 0

There is no shortage of available advice on how to network successfully. Most of it, however, tends to focus on tips for best presenting yourself and your product. Presentation is key, but it’s not exclusive.

Equal time should be spent developing well-articulated goals for each connection before you shake your first hand or say your first hello. Start by asking and answering two key questions before you approach a planned networking opportunity: Why am I here and who am I looking for?

Why Am I Here?

Quality is almost always better than quantity where networking is concerned, and the best way to find quality connections is by investing time up front in knowing what it is you hope to achieve. Beyond increased sales or professional growth, be specific in why you are attending.

Are you looking for opportunities to expand your brand; are you promoting a specific project or product; are you hoping to learn something new about your industry or learn something new about your customers? As much as possible, identify one goal in advance and then stay on that task for the duration.

Who Am I Looking For?

While your ultimate goal in networking is making valuable connections, according to author Derek Coburn, your mission needs to be tailored in order to be a good fit. Determine ahead of time whether you are looking to meet mentors, peers or potential clients, and then identify several key factors that make them a good fit for you.

Depending on what you’ve identified, your time might be better spent pursuing three or four meaningful connections than working the entire room. On the other hand, it might be best to introduce yourself to as many people as possible in an effort to introduce your brand or business and not get bogged down in too many lengthy conversations. Determine which is the best approach for this particular event and plan accordingly.

Successful networking is as dependent on a strong ROI as all other aspects of your sales strategy. Your time and your energy are valuable resources, and approaching networking opportunities with clear goals and desired outcomes leads to more profitable outcomes.

This year, resolve to value meaningful connections over many by knowing by approaching networking knowing what you hope to achieve and who can best help you in those efforts.

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