Business Networking - Ready or Not?

The Complicated Course of Collision to Confidant

Which is preferred?  A 20-Minute Customer or a 20 Year Business Friend?

How do you effectvely manage a simple collision, and here I mean new a business interaction

"A Collision" where two people come together. It could be a casual meeting in an elevator, a discussion at a networking event or a referral from a loyal customer that could lead to a long-standing business relationship or friendship.  That choice is up to the salesperson, namely YOU.

Growing up in a small business my parents always believed in fair value, fair pricing excellent service and the importance or repeat business . They would focus as they told me "not on a fast shilling but a slow pound."  And it worked.

Some salespeople struggle with this concept, they like the repeat customers ,but they also want the sales immediately, thinking short-term end of the month, end of quarter.

Note: Don't Miss the Supporting Content Relating  to This Article at The Bottom of This Page 

The evolution of business relationship could take the following steps.

The power of C's.

  • The Collision
  • The Call
  • The Conversation
  • The Chance
  • The Conclusion
  • The Callback
  • The Contract

The Collision

I've heard it said that the first sale to be made is the salesperson.  This I agree with.

That first sale could be made in as little as a fraction of a second, if you look interesting or threatening to the observer could determine whether a collision even occurs. Now that you're in the game, the second part of the coalition is what comes of your mouth. Sound intelligent or sound interesting to the listener and you still in the game. Sound valuable and you could be through to what may be the bonus round.  A meeting.

The Call

This first follow on this critical you may have exchange cards when you make this call all you want to focus on is the meeting that may be a little bit of reintroduction do not let this degrade into a conversation about your product or service.  Be patient avoid and the temptation, the time will coMe.  Firstly, get the meeting.

The Conversation

I've sat in meetings with salespeople and customers and being shocked of how little preamble takes place.  I've seen behavior that did not demonstrate any interest in the customer but was all about the product. The quickest I've seen the product come out and onto the table is a stunning 24 seconds.  What ever happened to foreplay?  The customer holds all the cards when it comes to information, information he will give you will allow you to understand buying behavior, buying motives, desired outcomes.  Your job is to get to that information in a nonthreatening, non-manipulative and engaging way. The best way to get there is to ask emotionally engaging questions.

Where did you grow up?  What most different about your business environment today in comparison to five years ago?  What are the main business improvement initiatives at this company? How are they changing the way you work? (They could be found in the annual report if there is one).

The Chance

If you've asked the right questions, if you've sounded knowledgeable, if you sounded creative and brought ideas that could help, then you may get a chance. A chance to put a product on test chance to put a service on trial or a chance to be able to present to more senior management. This is where the attention to detail needs to be concentrated. Even facet of a trial needs to go smoothly every element of a presentation need to be centric to the customer. They want ideas and confidence not commercials!

The Conclusion

Okay, all is going well you've uncovered buying motives you've uncovered opportunity you've created confidence and you have a product or service that is being purchased after a successful trial.  What next?

Playing rugby in my youth the second thing I was taught after go forward was to support, when you give the ball away to a fellow team member you need to be on a shoulder in case he needs you to provide cover or assistance.

The Callback

The same applies to business.  It is a risky game, careers in lifestyle from the line never under estimate the reason why you've been successful. It is because you have helped somebody else be successful. It is not about you, it is not about your product and it is not about your company. Don't drink the Kool-Aid and please continue to think from the customer's perspective. They may call you back if you continue to provide ideas and creativity that will support the goals and intentions of the individuals and organization you remain of value. When you get the call, simply repeat your previous steps.Don't rush, don't think it is all in the bag. Continue to Earn It!

The Contract

After many repeated chances, after repeated follow ons and after many repeated successful conclusions and callbacks you may earn if you are able and I don't mean lucky to aspire to the position of a trusted advisor or confidant. This is the holy Grail, orders come easier profits are higher more fun is had by all.

Depending on your industry your preparation, your appeal and your perceived value . This could take anything from months to years and may even involve a bit of that luck stuff .

So don't try to rush, do not appear needy, buyers sense it.  Needy is blood in the water and when the feeding frenzy starts it goes straight to price and bypasses value, it starts to eat into your price and your profit and you will never get it back.  You are then just one of many wallowing at the bottom and getting fed the scraps, "Casual and not the Confidant"

Recommended Reading:-

Jeffrey Gitomer's The Little Black Book of Connections.

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Happy Selling

Malcolm Evans  AKA "Axntguy"