I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. If you’re reading this, you probably already know how to network so I’ll just say this: Givers Get. Don’t enter any networking situation wondering what you’ll get out of it. Enter it wondering who you can help. When you become a connector and a helper you become someone people want to have in their network.
Sales Cycle/Sales Funnel
As antiseptic as this sounds, the math of your sales cycle works, you just have get curious and figure out what the math is.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Back when I was selling membership dues, I was given an arbitrary target of 200 “touches” per month, with fifty of those touch being new. A “touch” is an email, a phone call, a meeting, a lunch, a breakfast, anytime you “touch” a prospect.
I don’t know how something so arbitrary could turn out to be so on-target, but I learned that if I made 200 touches in a month, I would hit my $4,000 new member dues goal. Whether you sell dues, sponsorships, widgets or new cars, the math almost always works you just have to figure out what the math is.
And the trick to figuring out what the math is, is your sales funnel. I’ve always worked for not-for-profits so there was never a budget for fancy applications like Sales Force. I had an excel spreadsheet where I logged every call, email, meeting, lunch, and breakfast. Every month had its own tab and I used the formulas to make sure I didn’t miss a follow up.
No one wants to date someone who seems desperate, and no one wants to do business with someone who seems desperate. People do business with people they know, like, and trust, in that order.
So here are some techniques to keep you from sounding like you need the dues check to make rent.
- Sit back in your chair. Did you know that it’s physically impossible for your voice to sound nervous or stressed or tight if you’re leaning back in your chair?
- Smile when you answer the phone, on matter who’s calling you.
- Superman pose. It sounds silly but if you’re open to it, stand up straight, chin up, fists on hips (not hands on hips, but fists on hips) and take a few deep breaths as you look around, surveying your domain.
- Deep breath. This is such an amazing tool. If you’re feeling tense, take a really deep breath and hold it for a count of three. While you’re holding it, tense up your entire body and hold that tension. After the count of three slowly release and your whole body will also release the tension.
- Radical honest. This is a real game-changer. Telling a prospect that it’s okay if they don’t join automatically makes you a trusted advisor. Being frank with someone by saying, “Listen, if after exploring this together you decide it’s not the right fit, that’s totally okay.” You’ve turned yourself into an ally, someone they can trust with their money, of all things.
Cultivating relationships is the key to business development. If you work on commissions it’s easy to make each conversation and sale transactional, but remember: what people crave is connection and authenticity. So give it to them.