There’s no secret sauce when it comes to selling, but there are two things that make your chances that much better:
1. Knowing the right people
2. Having the right tools
It’s Who You Know
What they say is true; knowing the right people can open doors you would have wasted years banging on alone. Having a solid network of people who want to connect you to others makes selling so much easier.
How to Know the Right People
You don’t build your network cold calling. Instead, attend local networking events, trade shows and conferences to meet more people. And it’s a two-way street, so work to connect your contacts with people you think will benefit them.
Networking isn’t about asking, it’s about giving. Ask yourself, how can I provide value to this contact? And it’s an ongoing effort. You may one day come across a good client for someone you met last year. Don’t hesitate to connect them. You never know how they might return the favor.
Using the Right Tools for the Job
At FutureSimple, we’re all about taking the pain out of managing your sales pipeline. This isn’t a pitch for our products (though we do think they rock), but it is to say that you need appropriate tools to keep up with your contacts.
If you’ve got them in a spreadsheet, ask yourself, will this spreadsheet tell me what to do next? Will it help me see where I am with a deal? As your network grows, you’ve got to keep your contacts straight. Imagine each contact like a bulletin board. You’ll want to tack on notes, add contact information and details about any deals you’ve done together. That gets messy unless you have the appropriate tools.
For years, I had my contacts spread everywhere: Outlook, Google, CRM programs I never used, spreadsheets…I’m still suffering from the aftermath of my lack of organization when I look for contacts from my past. I’m finding the benefit of keeping them in one place and taking copious notes. No more sticky notes stuck to my computer anymore!
The key is: whatever system you use, make sure it works for you. You should be able to easily pull up a contact or company and find details on how to reach them, information about what they do and what you’ve discussed, potential deals you’re working on, and next steps for you. Schedule everything in your calendar, even if it’s just “email Ted and see how he’s doing.”
Sales are about relationship building. The more people you know that trust you, the easier it will be to sell and get referrals. The better organized you are in your relationship management, the easier you will be able to maintain those networks.