Q: When is selling not selling?
A: When it’s networking!
Remote networking sessions on Zoom, LinkedIn or other social media platforms, have become the ‘new normal’ since March 2020.
There’s a very marked difference between direct selling and networking. Networking also sits in our portfolio of sales training courses and the end goals of both are sales, and ultimately business on the books. But the means to the end are a longer, more nuanced game.
Launch into full blown sales pitch at your peril! A pushy, one-sided performance will instantly switch people off and, have them avoiding you like the plague in future.
So, what’s the point of remote networking?
- We’re four times more likely to buy from a new supplier who’s been referred by somebody we know.
- Referred clients have a 16% higher lifetime value.
- 84% of buying processes start with a referral.
(Charlie Lawson, The Unnatural Networker)
These stats highlight that the key to networking is looking beyond your fellow networkers as direct bullseyes. Yes, you can scoop up immediate direct business occasionally, but not usually.
Instead, think about establishing, and nurturing, your own network of ‘business mates’, try building a network with powerful referral potential. BUT, only powerful when you’ve established three crucial elements with them –
- KNOW YOU
- LIKE YOU
- TRUST YOU
Thinking in these terms pulls you back from just honing in on potential prospects. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t immediate or foreseeable business with people, because it’s not just about who’s in your network, it’s about who those people in your network know, and have in their wider network.
Understanding the purpose of remote networking helps you deliver a much more effective and fit for purpose pitch.
You usually have 30 seconds to a minute to deliver your pitch. So, keep it short, sweet, and succinct to make it count.
Remember… Features tell. Benefits sell.
So, don’t be a bore. Nobody’s interested in the finer details – yet. Nobody wants to hear a long list about a product or a service.
Focus on –
- What you do to help them. (remember they are thinking – what’s in it for me)
- Who you help, e.g. your ideal client persona or other clients they may know.
- How you help them – ROI (return on investment)
Building rapport is also vitally important and should not be forgotten.
Remember people need to KNOW and LIKE you and they can’t do this if you are just pitching “at them”.
Good rapport skills and a solid 30 second what you can do for them, is a great starting point.
If you know you won’t have time to follow up with the people you meet, don’t bother attending a remote networking session.
You’ll have wasted the investment of your time and money.
And, further to that, it’s a poor reflection on yourself as a professional and, consequently, on your business. Because nobody wants to do business with people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do. That’s Sales 101!
In our virtual sales training courses focusing on networking, you’ll take on a deeper dive in to the power of networking (remote and otherwise) and referrals. Remote networking should be an evolving referral channel – one which you shouldn’t underestimate.