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- Farming Versus Hunting … Networking Versus Cold Calling: The Art & Science to Better Selling & Lead Flow Management! [ARTICLE]
Farming Versus Hunting … Networking Versus Cold Calling: The Art & Science to Better Selling & Lead Flow Management!
The reason for cold calling, called by any other name is the same, is critical to the lifeblood of any selling organization, and that is the need to get your name and deliverable in front of people that do not know you exist and that are a suited recipient of your solution for their immediate, intermediate and possible long-term needs. You must consistently keep lead flow into your selling pipeline/selling funnel.
We have been raised in a world of hunter-gatherer mentality, and for some this has worked in the immediacy of selling. Big reality check, to sustain immediate sells and long-term sells, a mind-shift must take place with selling professionals and managerial- leaders.
Whether your organization does anything to pull or push leads into the selling pipeline for you and others to follow-up upon, you must also own annual, regular, consistent, lead flow management activities!
Networking is the art-science of farming and cultivating both the immediate relationships that feed immediate selling opportunities and ensures continued future feasts. While the hunter is the traditional “cold calling” scarcity mentality, and most selling professional’s behaviors validate larger volumes of failure and resistance, versus successes and closing rates. Consumers can detect when they are being sold versus when they are being engaged and make a conscious decision to buy.
Whether you are dealing with front-line selling initiatives, inside selling, outside selling or over-seeing selling from a macro strategic focus, the rules of networking engagement apply (B2B, B2C, C2C, C2B). It’s all critical in the new world of pedestrian and virtual selling (selling, enlistment, recruitment, membership, etc.). To leverage increased possible new selling endeaavors from people that do not know you, leverage all the contacts you have first via leveraged networking, before you fixate on over-coming call reluctance of “cold calling” strangers.
Some essential Networking guide-points:
- You must have the Mentality of being other person centric and truly wanting to understand the other party and assist them in their pursuits – Law of Reciprocity.
- Getting meaningful, continued, and lasting Referrals is also about keeping your eye open to what you can be doing for others first and continually; Repeatedly legitimate connectivity to clients affords you continued conversational opportunities with them, and this will allow you to recognize touch-points in their life to others that may be beneficiaries of what you have to offer; For example if you know I am involved in my Home Owners Association that can link you to neighbors, their family members, the people they work with. Or if you knew I was involved in other area or professional affinity groups, then leverage the reach into those networks, or if you knew I was involved in my Church, etc., you get the point!
Join every appropriate business and personal networking, referral, coaching group in your community and on-line universe. You must have what Ivan Misner, the Founder of the largest and oldest international business lead referral development networking organization, BNI (www.BNI.com) and a regular contributor for years to my www.ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com editorial flow. Misner has a time-tested three-step networking model that every professional selling and business owner must live by -VCP understanding.
Build Visibility in the market first, then ensure you have Credibility at all times and in everything you do, then Profitability will come – Very Connected People!
- Understand that Generational Diversity impacts how Networking takes place and you must play on the Generational playing field that the other person plays within. So, if someone is social media savvy, then so too must you be. If someone is a big face-t-face interaction focused person, then you must be in their space regularly, etc.,
- Understand that Gender Diversity impacts how Networking takes place and you must play on the Gender playing filed that the other person plays within.
- Make sure you do not become desperate and emotional in your presence and remember Networking is both an immediate, intermediate, long term needs based endeavor.
- Apply Rule 3-3-30® (a model I learned decades ago when interacting with the late grate Bill Tragos, principle of the world’s largest advertising firm - TBWA), to your networking. In the first 3-Seconds someone sees you, what does your visual message project and it must captivate them and pull them inward to want more from you? The second 3-Seconds is when the first close face-to-face space is connected, what you’re your persona project and say about you and here is where the other person has to be able to put into context who you are or what your broad brand message says? Then, if you have not lost them, the next 30-seconds are the first words that are expressed and exchanged, here is your message that either pulls them to you or pushes them away from you. What do these words convey about you and are they words that compel the other person to want to engage you further and know more about you?
- Enroll and be proactive in appropriate Networking Groups/Associations. Become involved and committed to Trade, Industry, Peer, Geographic, Referral, and Business clubs, groups, associations. Attend and proactively engage others to PLUS OTHERS first. Look into groups like (www.BNI.com), Rotary, United States Junior Chamber/USJaycees, Chamber-of-Commerce business groups that appeal to a specific affinity, etc.).
- Utilize Social Media as a brand builder and awareness resource, it’s like planting seeds that others will participate in cultivating with you and that will produce future transformational and transactional outcomes. Look at on-line professional portals for affiliation and regular engagement into – provide value to others first.
- Track Your On-Line Analytics, as another lead source for networking, you should generate a daily report of all the on-line traffic to your website and social- media platforms, from these visitors, pro-actively send a follow-up email to them availing yourself should they have un-met questions needing answers. Something like, “I noticed you stopped into our website yesterday, thank you, if you have any questions or needs that you did not find answers to, please let me be your personal contact, I can be reached at 111-222-3333 or [email protected]”
- Local Trades. Subscribe to all industry publications and local business/trade publications that come out and chronicle what’s going on in the business community. These typically provide lists of prospects or updates on movers-and- shakers, or announcements of new business growth expansions and people – all rich sources of smaller lead sources on a weekly to monthly basis as well.
- Time and Scheduling Consistency is critical to lead flow creation through “networking” and “cold calling” endeavors. Talk to the super achievers in your industry or organization (and I mean those people that consistently attain and surpass their selling goal objectives) for best advice as to the days of the week and the times of the day for the best reach out phone calling cycles, IT based campaigns or face-to-face activities.
Stay connected to Everyone! Make sure you maintain a long term big picture focus to return to the Network you have built and continuously are checking in with your contacts (customers, vendors, colleagues, inactive clients, people connected to them, etc.) to see how to be of value to them. Make sure you are a good ambassador and advocate of them by staying on top of their latest endeavors and offerings. Then the Law of Reciprocity will play forward and back to you. Whether that means utilizing your smart technologies to have reminders to reconnect on a daily, weekly, monthly basis with your Network contacts, it takes a lot of energy to build a Network, less to maintain it, and not much to lose it!
With every contact from the above idea lists, always ensure they have your up-to-date contact information in their smart phone directories, copies of your business cards, and any other appropriate connectivity differentiators of value in their possession.
Make utilizing your Network of contacts a regular part of your selling efforts and lead flow contact into your selling pipeline. Remember selling model idea 1-52-X®, this can be one of those targeted demographics you reach out to once a month or as strategically appropriate.
Evaluating your contacts as networking opportunities, should start your mental juices flowing on even more target rich networking ideas relevant for you, write them down and execute connections into each. Networking should be understood as an essential component of a sales professional and organizations over-all market touch-points. Sustaining long term market presence and selling effectiveness is about the “now” as much is it is about the “future” and far too many people and organizations have a micro “now” mentality and that exhausts everyone in the end!
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