It takes 6-8 touches to generate a viable sales lead, according to Salesforce. In essence, this means it could take 6-8 contact points to just get a meeting (or more likely a call) booked in with the decision-maker.
The beauty of attending business networking events (in-person and online) means you can potentially fast-track this process. You can bypass the gate-keeper and speak directly to the person you are ultimately trying to win over.
Remember though, you want to build trust. Be genuinely curious to learn about them and their values. This doesn’t involve hitting them with horrible sales pitches and emailing a 50-page impersonalised proposal at the slight whiff of interest in what you do.
Now, I want you to close your eyes and picture this…
You’re a director of an international design studio (well-done you!) You’re working on a fabulous new project and need to find some faux leather chairs.
Okay, question: are you more likely to hit Google search and give the top-ranking listing a call?
Pick up the phone to the MD of fabrics and textiles company you’ve already connected with in person?
Chances are, you’d opt for the latter.
Why? Because as humans, we’re more inclined to trust people we’ve met. Or those referred to us by someone we already have a great relationship with (good enough to trust their recommendations anyway).
If we simply looked at “textile suppliers” on the internet all day long, trawled through some splendid (and not so splendid) websites, we’d most likely be none the wiser to who we want to reach out to. You’d have no personal connection with any. No clue if you’d click in a working relationship.
P.S You can open your eyes now.
Now, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a supplier in this instance. In a world where almost all sales transactions can be ‘faceless’, actually getting in-front of people can really give you a leg-up on the business ladder.
Being helpful, curious and non-salesy at a business networking event creates a very positive identity for your company. Whether the people you connect with are potential clients. Or could refer business to you. Having the ability to connect at an event (on a regular basis) can nurture that relationship and put you in good stead for when the time comes that someone needs your product or service.
This can be particularly useful when your service is similar to many others.
People like people. You want to know, like and trust the people you are investing in. How are you standing out from the crowd? In this day-and-age, just saying that you’re “honest”, “reliable” and that you “customer-focussed” on your website is hardly a USP and enough to draw people in, is it?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to gain trust… Don’t expect to pick up ten new clients after attending one event or trade show. Having human connections with your potential clients and referrers is a great place to start achieving that though.
So, remember, leave the sales scripts at the door. Go in with an open mind, focus on how you can help others and who you could help connect them up with. What goes around comes around.
Thanks for reading and do let me know your thoughts!