Meeting people, finding out what their needs are, and building relationships are at the heart of sales. That’s why networking effectively is so crucial. So many salespeople hate networking, and there’s a big reason why.
They feel that it doesn’t add value, add to the pipeline, or generate qualified leads. However, there is a misnomer here.
The main reason that networking fails to generate leads is because most sales professionals fail to follow up with contacts generated during networking.
Spending your time networking and not following up is like trying to learn a foreign language and only practicing one new word per day. At the end of the week, you might be able to string together a sentence, but you certainly won’t be able to have a conversation.
We know that it’s an important part of the process, but even for the most productive of us, there’s not enough time to attend a networking session, enter the resulting information into the CRM, and follow up with each new contact all on our own.
Thankfully, training your assistant to handle this crucial step is fast, simple, and can make your networking efforts worthwhile again.
These 5 examples of how to leverage your assistant can help you increase your impact while networking in no time.
1. Identify the best networking opportunities
A great assistant will be able to help you identify the networking opportunities that will meet your goals by researching your local area for events specific to your industry or sector.
Additionally, you can attend events in other areas of interest to you – and the relationships you create there may eventually become leads because people love doing business with someone they feel personally connected to. Your assistant can then review your calendar to schedule these opportunities for you.
If your assistant is struggling to find the perfect opportunities for you, you can always create your own. Have your assistant organize and set up your own networking event!
2. Treat your assistant as an advance team
If you know a little bit about the type of networking event you’re attending, or can get your hands on a guest list, have your assistant research who will be there. Have them identify your closest connections on LinkedIn. You’ll likely have more in common with them and potentially will have a mutual connection who can introduce you. If you go into a networking opportunity armed with information, you can have a goal in mind and spend your valuable networking time focused on making the right connections.
3. Transfer data gathered in the moment
Snap a pic of your new contact’s business card and send it to your assistant so they can immediately enter the data into your CRM system. You can jot a few notes on the back of their card or even dictate voice notes while recording video of the card(s) you collect.
This ensures the data doesn’t get lost, and it helps you confirm the quality of the data will be much higher than what you’re able to remember when you’re back in the office.
4. Set yourself up for great follow-up
Once the data has been entered into your CRM system, your assistant can begin creating a follow-up template which will streamline your follow-up process. They can even gather additional information to make your follow-up more personal.
Is your new contact a huge Red Sox fan? Have your assistant enter and tag that data in your CRM tool and send a note of congratulations after a big win. After all, personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates according to Experian.
5. Get social
Have your assistant explore social media connections with your new contacts through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. You have a great opportunity to develop relationships with potential customers by “introducing” yourself to them through your public persona on social media.
Connecting on social media, also known as social selling, can help you get face time faster. This is one more touchpoint for them that’s not just the same old generic cold e-mail that they’re likely to be bombarded by after networking events. Developing an online relationship can often work to get you a face-to-face meeting an e-mail never would.