Skyrocketing Sales Solutions

Edition 7, December 16, 2003

"For those Who Want to Sell, Need to Sell, or Should Sell--to Sell More"                                                                                                         Dec. 2003 

Dear Todd,

Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

May we take a moment to say thanks this holiday season for the life we have and where we have it. No matter our political views, we appreciate the gifts of freedom that only come from living in the most amazing country of them alll --The United States of America. 

God bless America, and as Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol, "God bless us all." 

Sincerely, 
Todd B. Natenberg
TBN Sales Solutions

Networking: Make it about them, They will make it about you

Sales Tip of the Month 

Networking. Everyone wants to do it. Everyone claims they do it. And most of all, everyone knows it is the single best way to earn clients. 

But what is effective networking? 

Is it merely collecting business cards at a formalized event and then following up afterward with a few of the people you meet, because they had an interest in what you offer? Is it schmoozing with as many as you can in a room packed with other salespeople? Hardly. 

Networking is the developing of long-term relationships based on a mutual exchange of information to help skyrocket incomes for at least two individuals. 

And it goes without fail that the best salespeople are always the best networkers. 

So what are the keys to networking? Four critical areas are essential to networking success: Introduction, Probing, State the Initial Benefit, and Follow-up.

Introduction 

The one who gets the most out of networking is always the one who introduces themselves first- formal or informal. Why? It's because when you make the first move, you earn the right to make the second, third and fourth. It's not enough though just to introduce yourself first. How you introduce yourself is also key to success. 

You may have heard some of these before, but they are worth repeating. Here are some quick tips when introducing yourself: 

1. Firm handshake 

2. Ask them their name first 

3. Repeat their name aloud, say your name 

4. Make eye contact and smile 

5. Always give a business card at the end, always get a card. Always get the e-mail.

Probe 

Before anything else can be spoken, ask your new friend what they do. Listen for the answer and respond accordingly. Remember a cardinal rule: People love to talk about themselves more than anything. So let them. 

Don't tell them what you do for at least 2 minutes, unless they ask earlier. 

Earn their friendship and you will earn their referrals. 

Some other great networking questions to ask are: 

1. What has been the key to your success? 

What better way to massage an ego! It's also a great way to see their business perspective- Is it customer service? Is it longevity? Is it networking? This information also will be vital when you want to tie back to build alliances. 

2. Who is your ideal client? 

This is a question few people ask and it's a gold mine, because it indicates right off the bat you want to give referrals to them. 

3. What is your biggest challenge from a "????" perspective (the industry of whatever you are selling)? 

Yes, now you are starting to reverse the conversation a little bit. But that's okay, because you were bound to get there anyway. For instance, at one point, I might ask, "What's your biggest challenge from a sales perspective?" 

Even though you are now guiding them, you are still asking questions. They will get tired of talking and soon enough they will be begging you to share who you are. What will begin as a networking conversation-- will turn into a sales call for you- at your new friend's doings.

State Initial Benefit

When they ask what you do, give your top-notch initial benefit statement. Know not just what you do, but why they should care. Don't assume because it's "networking" you don't give your pitch. Often, in a networking environment, it's more critical, because more often you are aiming for referrals than business from the person standing in front of you. 

Don't fall into the "It should only be a 10 second sentence." No, it's quality, not quantity or lack of it. An effective initial benefit statement should say the following: 

What you offer, why it's better than what someone currently has and why they should care, and who you are selling to--IN THE EXACT OPPOSITE ORDER. For instance: 

"TBN Sales Solutions increases commissions for salespeople and profits for businesses through customized training, coaching and consulting. We establish structures and procedures in all facets of the sales process, through workshops and individual sales coaching to teach reps to control their own destiny to impact the bottom line." 

Follow-up

1. Send everyone a personal e-mail thank you within one week, regardless of whether they can help you outright. You include "it was nice meeting you, here's an electronic brochure, and keep me in mind." If you know there is no chance you can help them and they can't help you, don't offer to call them, let them offer to call you. 

2. Call within two days those "hot prospects" who may buy your service to schedule an appointment. 

3. If it is a potential strategic alliance, where there is a good referral opportunity, call to arrange a coffee or even just a "phone appointment." In this day and age, be selective with your coffees. "You don't want to waste their time or your time, they are equally valuable." 

4. Dig into your database for referrals to GIVE to get the ball rolling. Don't just make a phone call, though, and give a name. Make it a real lead. Send a three-way e-mail endorsing both the person who may stand to earn a client and the one who may meet with your vendor. 

5. Lastly, know referrals of information- such as groups, articles, or other "strategic alliances" are great referrals, too. Referrals aren't so much about how spectacular they are, but that they are there. 

When you give, you get. When you give more, you get more. 

Happy selling!


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"I just got a job in sales. Now what?" A Playbook for Skyrocketing Your Commissions
by Todd Natenberg 

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The Journey Within: Two Months on Kibbutz by Todd Natenberg 

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