How to encourage your sales team to start networking and how to make the most benefit from the contacts they make?
Getting started can be somewhat tricky. However, with a bit of patience and dedication, you can drive your team in the right direction and start getting benefits! Here is an ultimate guide to help you boost your employees’ skills:
Develop a Plan
Planning is an essential part of every endeavor. Usually, people attain this skill along with others at university or college, as different assignments like process analysis require students to write a well-structured plan. Thus, it is the perfect first step towards your goal of a realistic and detailed networking plan for your team. It can include the events you want your employees to attend, different meetings, and other details.
Also, set a plan for the number of connections that should be made each month. Having such a strategy will help you keep the employees organized and on track.
Define the Activities and Events That Could Come in Handy
To set your team on the right track, it is crucial to ask around and define what types of activities and networking events are popular among your prospective customers and partners.
Having a clear idea of events that your team should attend to establish new connections is a good starting point for improving their skills!
Encourage Employees to Make Connections
Encourage your salespeople to be willing to share their stories, be genuine, honest, and approachable. Train them to be open and capable of stimulating the conversation.
Find a Coach
We’ve already highlighted some of the essential networking skills. Your main goal is to help your team disclose their full potential and develop those skills.
The easiest way to do this is to hire a mentor. A professional coach will quickly identify at what level your employees are and will offer solutions that will help them get better.
Set the Right Goals
For maximum productivity, a team should have shared goals that will drive them and encourage them to develop. You can start with smaller goals. For example, take the whole team to an upcoming networking event and set a goal that each should make at least a few valuable connections during this event.
The right goals keep people engaged and motivated, which is essential for success. Over some time, your goals will be getting more massive and, respectively, you will see better results.
Show How to Follow Up
Following up is essential for keeping the connections you make. Thus, you have to encourage the team to keep the link alive by making appropriate follow-ups.
Encourage Employees to Share Connections
Since a common goal drives all of you, it is important to share the connections you make with each other. This will make your business networking strategy even more effective and strengthen the relationships in the team.
Organize the Contacts
As the team will be getting better in business networking, the number of new contacts will keep growing.
At this point, it is important to remember that every connection matters regardless of whether it was established a day or a year ago.
In order not to lose the contacts you already have, encourage your salespeople to organize them. Ideally, you should create a shared database divided into relevant groups. This will help you store them safely and nurture all relationships.
Devise an Elevator Pitch
This is a handy strategy that will make it easier for the team to establish the right connections. An elevator pitch is an engaging and thoughtful statement that clearly describes your business and brand. The main goal of this statement is to immediately drive the attention of potential contact and make one want to continue communication.
Create a creative and compelling elevator pitch and ask your employees to memorize it.
Think Smaller to Get the Benefit
Without a doubt, big conferences and events give you an opportunity to meet hundreds or even thousands of people. If you are lucky, there may be dozens of short conversations. As a result, you will end up having a big stack of business cards and newly established connections But how effective those would be?
Often, big events are so packed that each visitor sees thousands of faces and can’t really focus on establishing relationships with a particular person. This means that most of those people you meet at such events won’t even recall having a conversation. Thus, such connections are often worthless.
Instead, many specialists recommend thinking smaller. Many entrepreneurs prefer arranging regular meetings in small groups that allow everyone to get to know each other better.
Of course, attending big events still makes sense, and you shouldn’t give up on them. Just make a bigger focus on smaller dinners and meetings for establishing stronger relationships.
Managing Networks for Customer Relationship Management Performance
The business circle of contacts plays a vital role in CRM (customer relationship management). However, it is crucial to understand that merely expanding it is not enough to reach your CRM objectives. It is also essential to know how to manage those networks.
As a rule, every business network consists of one internal and four external components. The inner part concerns you and your employees. The external component consists of other contacts, including investors/owners, customers, partners, and suppliers.
What does this mean for you?
Every chain in your network has connections with different profiles. In turn, this means that the purposes of these contacts vary.
For example, while establishing relationships with a potential customer, your goal is to encourage one to purchase your product or service. On the contrary, meeting a new potential investor, you want to show the relevance and potential of your business to proceed to the investment.
To make the most benefit of your business contact list, it is vital to understand the difference between each group. Also, outline the goals you’d like to reach within each. This understanding will help you manage the network wisely and reach CRM goals.
Some Employees Hate Networking then What to Do?
Have you ever noticed how some people love making connections, going to events, and communicating with new people, while others feel uncomfortable and awkward?
It’s true, networking can be tough for some people. They find it hard to start a dialogue, break the ice, and socialize.
It is okay, and not a rare occasion. However, from a business perspective, having such people in your team can be considered as hindering progress. Their unwillingness to establish relationships can make you miss out on some great opportunities.
What to do in this case?
Is it possible to change your employees’ attitude toward networking?
Before you make any radical steps, let us assure you that even true introverts can excel in making connections. However, they might need a bigger push to start working in this direction.
First of all, we advise entrepreneurs to take it slow and easy. Pushing your employees too hard can have the opposite effect and destroy the relationships inside the team.
Thus, instead of requiring the colleagues to go out and start making new connections even though they don’t want to do this, encourage them to make small steps to become better in establishing contact gradually.
Also, a good strategy is to offer your team nice bonuses and benefits for their accomplishments. Such an approach will increase motivation and help them improve their skills faster.
Finally, you can help your team by providing them with the needed materials and tools for developing their skills. You can even invite a tutor or share some effective methods on how to become better in business networking.
Don’t forget to be an inspiring example. All these efforts will definitely pay off, so don’t hesitate and start acting!
Networking best practices
Networking is something that helps businesses expand, chase new opportunities, and survive the competition. Thus, the more extensive your list of contacts is, the higher the chances for success you have!
Learning the basics of business networking is not hard. However, when it comes to developing those essential skills and applying them effectively, that’s when the real challenge begins.
Hopefully, this article will help each of you understand the main concept behind effective business networking and find suitable solutions to incorporate this technique into your sales team for higher revenues and success!