Henley and Ascot: The selling strategies that exist beyond flamboyant hats, canapés and Champagne PART 2
Posted in Blog by Matt
June 29th, 2012
In PART 2 of this selling strategies article we take a closer look at how networking can play a hugely important role in sales success. As the networking goldmine that is Henley Royal Regatta draws to a close, I wonder how many people have formed the kind of relationships that will eventually lead to increased profit and revenue…
In PART 1 we covered, Remember the Scout motto: Be Prepared. Here are the next two crucial tips:
2. Get past the first barrier – just start talking
The idea of having to spark up conversation with someone you have never met before is one of the main reasons people are turned off by networking. I admit it’s a barrier. But if you can get past it you will be able to unearth some great selling opportunities.
Once you have planned correctly and found the right event, it’s time to perform. To put the importance of this into some sort of perspective: You’re at a party and two people walk in. The first is unsure and scared to make eye contact. He heads straight to the bar and looks nervously out across the room.
The second walks in with a huge smile and casually walks up to the first person he sees and introduces himself. Done – ice broken.
Think about this next time you get into the networking environment. There are opportunities in that room, you just need to be the approachable and engaging person that people want to interact with.
- Be confident and open – TALK!
- Don’t shy away, it’s a networking event it’s OK to approach people
- Without conversations the event is pointless
3. You must RESIST!
The rich opportunities that exist via networking events come at a cost. There are certain temptations that the powerful sales people will be able to resist in order to keep focused on their objective: make connections that lead to sales.
Here are TWO temptations that you must navigate past:
Alcohol – the majority of networking events take place in the evening and there is usually a bar. Have a drink by all means, but never to the point where you can’t develop a conversation with key prospects. You have turned up to enhance your reputation not ruin it. Stay focused on being natural with your selling strategy and don’t let alcohol force you off track.
- Comfortable conversations – as we mentioned before it’s a crime to walk in and not have a conversation with anyone at a networking event. However, it’s equally a crime to find someone you are comfortable talking to and sticking with them all night. You get talking to someone who is not a prospect in anyway but you hit it off and realise you both support the same team and have had a long day. The bar beckons. Resist! Remember why you are at the event and work the room. If you can keep focused on your selling strategy you will reap the rewards of a networking event.
- Alcohol might scupper your chances of building great contacts
- Getting caught in the wrong conversations is easy
- You can have fun and relax, but don’t forget your objectives
Here’s a great example of how a networking event led to increased revenue and profit for an ex-colleague who now works as a recruitment consultant in London…
With a vacant financial director role to fill, this recruitment consultant had been through his entire contact book and had failed to find the right candidate for the position. What he needed was a room full of qualified financial workers to assess and then select for the role.
He picked up a trade journal and looked for finance-related conferences and exhibitions coming up in London. No great surprise, there were loads. He knew he wouldn’t be able to turn up for free as he’s not the target market for the event organisers, but he could buy a ticket to one of the conference keynote speeches.
He went along, listened, made notes and even put a question to the presenter at the end. Afterwards he went to the bar area and just started to talking to as many people as he could about the keynote speech. He left the event with a pocket full of business cards.
The role he wanted to fill was secured by one of his candidates two weeks later.
To sell effectively there needs to be an element of bravery, but remember that everyone has an agenda. Think again about events like Royal Ascot and Henley Royal Regatta. All the smiles and laughter are masking some very aggressive selling strategies. There is an incredible desire for many of the people at the festival to be seen with the right people and have the right conversations. It’s why they turn up.
So go into that room have a conversation and engage with people. Chances are they’ll like you. And as we all know, people buy from people they like.
If networking isn’t part of your selling strategy, try it out. You could be surprised by the results.
Natural Training is constantly unearthing new ideas and approaches to selling. If you would like to find out more about our sales training programmes get in touch with the team on 020 7613 7830 or email email@example.com.
Pic: Wouter De Smet