Thursday, 11 April 2013

ROI from sales networking - Stacking up sales from networking events

Aleksandr Orlov freeloading at the Business Biscotti event at
  Gloucester Road  Casino, London
He networks everywhere !
We had a really good time at the South West London Business Biscotti meeting  April 10th .
We celebrated its first year so now  it's onwards and upwards to its second year of being ( hence the modified card see photo left).
Not only were there Biscotti  biscuits with the coffee  and refreshments but a lovely slice of Birthday cake for members attending at the Gloucester Road Casino !

Talking with a number of fellow Biscottiers it was interesting to find out how  they use such networking clubs  to help develop their businesses.

I'm sure you attend several networking events, the same as I do and find that you can spend a great deal of time with people who don't necessarily operate in the same business space that you do.

The skill is to find the right events to attend; although this sounds obvious, it isn't easy  there are no instant results.

We meet several people and collect a lot of business cards.

What is the best next step ?

I have adapted and developed a system for following up  which is comprehensive and you probably do some of it anyway.

This is simply a structured way you might find works for you also.

As with many business clubs you get out of it what you put into it.

Some of the folk I met Business Biscotti were experienced net workers ( dare  I say serial networkers) ,one or two were new to the whole process of networking and it got me to think about how fellow sales professionals follow up networking events but also with following up exhibition stand visitors and seminars etc. - so I share these with you.
I have a adapted a process from the classic "Get Clients Now!"™ by C.J. Hayden but also updated with social media approaches etc focused more for the UK market.
Prototype for my Nifty Networking ROI tool
The approach is to sort out your leads in various stacks

e.g. Prospects which you grade into hot, warm and cold leads.

Another stack consists of cards with which you can see no direct link. The  actions just prompts you by asking what can you do for them as a fellow net worker?

Experienced and effective net workers will also act as active sites for others to connect as well.

Hard sell pitching turns most people off at such events.

Often the  universality of the norm of reciprocity * (see below) repays your kindness and they help you connect with the people you would like to meet.

 We feel obligated to repay others what we have received from them. The norm drives us towards fairness in our everyday social interaction, our business dealings and our close relationships, and it helps build trust with others
And then a stack for directly useful contacts to be split between leads to clients and marketing opportunities.

Cards sorted out for action using the nifty
 networking ROI tool prototype
I have made an A4 landscape version of the flow chart which makes for a useful administration tool as the various boxes are about the same size as a business card.
I am trialing a prototype with fellow biscottiers and getting their feedback for the final version.
If you would like to try out one, Nina Tujak ambassador at Business Biscotti South West London has a pdf version or you can get one from me. ( I need to learn how to place a download button of a pdf on Blogger any help on this would be appreciated in the cooments box)

I have nicknamed it the nifty networking ROI tool

Further reading
  *  Norm of reciprocity - Ch 9 of Yes 
 by Golstein, Martin and Cialdini ISBN 978-184668-016-8  also Regan Coke can study by D.Regan 1971  'Effects of a favour and liking on compliance' Journal of Experimental Social psychology 7:627-39

Since social epidemics have a role to play in networking a re-reading of
 the Tipping Point
- by  Malcolm Gladwell  ISBN 0-349-11346-7 especially Ch 2 The law of the few

Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen p30 -88 is worth it

Related Links

Business Biscotti

Marie Cure cancer care

15 key things to find out while networking

Are netwoking clubs worth the bother for salespeople

The 5 stages of networking at Sales networking events

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