This is a guest post from one of our current members Mary Grothe at Sales BQ®.
You’re at a networking event and someone asks “What do you do?” and you quickly answer with your title and the name of the company you work for… and the products… and the services you have. The other person starts nodding their head and looking around the room at who else they could possibly start talking to. It’s not long before they walk away and the conversation is cut short.
Most sales reps attend a networking event without a plan. They show up and enjoy the food and drinks, but don’t work the room. They may get a few business cards… but those cards end up in the trash, their car, or on their desk. They never follow up! Stop wasting money on networking.
HERE’S A NEW PLAN:
1. Pre-call plan before the event. Learn about the event’s theme or the market/industry it serves. Become knowledgeable and ready to speak intelligently with like-minded people.
2. Scrub the attendee or member list (if one exists) and find both mutual connections and 2nd degree connections you’d like to meet. Profile them and plan 2-3 talking points on why you two should get to know each other and how you could be of value.
3. Prepare a checklist of what to bring:
- Business Cards
- Gum / mints
- Phone (with calendar)
4. Remember this rule while at the event: NO FOOD OR DRINK! No one wants to smell your bad breath, look at the food in your teeth, listen to you apologize because you can’t answer their question while you have food in your mouth, or watch you fumble and juggle your plate and glass while pulling out a business card.
5. The “walk-up”
- Approach those standing by themselves first
- Approach pairs second (watch body language)
- Approach groups last to avoid that awkward 5 minutes where you stand there but aren’t acknowledged and then have to figure out how to speak up or walk away
6. The “talk-track”
Get them talking first. Ask questions. Uncover their name, title, company, and day in the life of their role.
THEN you customize your value prop based on who they are!
Value Prop Basics
- Don’t state your title, company name, or anything about you.
- Make it ALL ABOUT THEM (be compelling!)
- Tell them you typically work with CEOs (or insert the title of the role you often target) who experience pains, problems, and undesirable results that they most likely also experience. Then describe the overall desired change / gain they most likely want.
You want to respond to “What do you do?” with a strong value proposition that encompasses the brand, builds trust, and shows credibility through describing the problems you solve.
A good value prop does one of two things:
- Starts a qualified sales conversation
- Results in a referral to a qualified prospect
The last step of our networking strategy is to SCHEDULE NEXT STEPS ON THE SPOT! Don’t lose your momentum – pull out your phone’s calendar and schedule your next meeting and ensure you capture their contact info. For those who aren’t ready to commit to next steps, block out 1-2 hours after event for scheduling future follow-ups.
Example of a poorly constructed value prop:
I’m Mary Grothe, CEO of Sales BQ. We specialize in sales consulting, sales recruiting, and sales training for companies across the country who are looking to grow sales.
Example of a powerful value prop that creates sales conversations:
Typically, CEOs & VPs work with us when they’re too heavily involved in sales and don’t achieve the revenue they want. Whether they’re still selling the product or service themselves or are stuck managing a non-performing team, they need help driving revenue growth. Some tried hiring and developing sales reps, but never saw any results! Bad sales hires are costly, yet even “A-level” sales talent can’t perform without infrastructure, systems, and processes in place. Ultimately, the CEOs & VPs who work with us want a profitable sales engine that produces high-growth sales.
Try these hacks at your next networking event, and let us know what kind of results you get!
Article written by Mary Grothe, CEO of Sales BQ.
START CRUSHING THOSE QUOTAS
We’ve compiled an excellent, practical guide to help you do just that! Check out Crush Your Quotas: The 2020 Guide to Becoming a Sales Rockstar.