Some salespeople swear by networking. They hang their hat on it as their primary sales technique. They go to every networking event they can find hoping to run into a few key decision-makers. Here’s the scenario:
They attend an event with 100 people, where there may be 10 good candidates. From this event, they usually walk away with zero meetings and maybe a few people to call about future meetings. From all those handshakes, one might be a real prospect. In those three hours, all they accomplished was marketing the organization and possibly setting one future meeting.
That same three hours on the phone has much more potential. Imagine how many people could be called and connected within three hours. Even if a large percentage of calls resulted in voicemails, all calls can be directed to a decision-maker in a target client company.
Conservatively, a cold-calling session could achieve 12 phone meetings and two or three prospect meetings. If they are all pre-qualified, those meetings are likely to result in new business.
In most cases, phone calls are the sales technique that yields far better results.
I’m not suggesting you stop networking. Your networks make you powerful. However, I am suggesting that you network better. Here’s how:
1. Network selectively. No more than 10% of your time should be spent networking. If you are in professional services and have to deliver, it should be no more than 5% in order to allow enough time to get on the phone to properly fill the pipeline and to attend meetings with prospects.
2. Network strategically. Stop spending time networking in the wrong places. Do not go to a networking event unless the majority of the people there are targeted prospects. And stop going to events consisting of a bunch of other salespeople.
Take a look at the networking events you attend regularly, and determine how much time you spend there. How many new prospects and new clients have you pulled from those events?
Howard Shore is a sales coach and trainer with expertise in sales techniques and sales force development. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and sales training, please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.