My first sales job felt tough for the first 18 months. Each month, I had to find another $50,000 of business selling copiers to meet my budget, mostly through cold calling, and had not yet discovered the power of networking.
Then, all of a sudden, ONE thing happened and everything changed.
Use Networking To Help Increase Your Sales Performance
That one thing was a rugby game; the All Blacks v. Australia at Athletic Park in Wellington. I was allowed to invite six guests to a boot party. We had hired a car boot in the parking section. The ‘boot’ is what we, Down Under, call the trunk. Inside the trunk were food and drink for the guests.
Since I did not have any large clients yet, I decided to invite a few who had the potential to be big clients. I did not expect much because, after all, they already had an existing supplier.
Still … everything was free to me so it was a good opportunity to network.
The game came and went and although the weather fluctuated, one thing remained steady… the alcohol consumption. Yes, the happy juice flowed from start to finish.
At the end of the game, I was tired and slightly inebriated – ready to go home and sleep.
Someone asked, ‘Where are we off to now?’
Someone else suggested my place. This was the last thing I wanted. Someone else seconded that mine was the best location and the crowd unanimously agreed. My place it was.
Six hours later, all these respectable business people were crawling on the floor, singing and dancing and generally embarrassing themselves (or they would have been embarrassed had anyone been sober).
I have to say, I am generally only a social drinker. I have never had a drink alone and probably never will, but business is business and on this day I was prepared to take one for the team.
Little did I know how profitable this social event was going to be for me. From that day on, 40% of my ‘record sales’ came from two clients who attended the ‘after-match’ function.
‘So, you mean that was networking?’ Yes … yes, it was.
From that day on, I became the #1 sales person in my company nationwide, largely due to two new and loyal clients who were big repeat buyers.
Okay, let me bring this puppy home.
Here is what I am NOT saying …
1) Get your potential clients drunk
2) Crawl around on the floor and sing songs with said clients
3) Drink yourself until you feel confident
I repeat, I am NOT saying you must do any of that, but I am also not saying NOT to do it, either. Those details just make my particular story a little more interesting.
What I am saying is that, in many cases, it can be in your best interest to move the relationship towards the personal. Although that type of networking isn’t something I would have intentionally tried, it worked, especially since I didn’t even realize I was networking in the first place.
There is a professional relationship and then there is a personal relationship, and then there is one in-between.
People buy from people who they trust and like. So what is the best way to become liked and trusted by your potential next client?