Did you ever kick yourself for not seeing an opportunity that was right in front of your eyes? I’m not talking about those deals that you just forget to call because you obviously haven’t been using Spiro’s AI-Powered CRM yet. I’m talking about those people standing in front of you – those missed networking opportunities.
I see salespeople miss opportunities to mine contacts from the people within the inner circles of their network all the time just because, well, who would have thought… Funny enough, this happened to me and it changed my perspective on networking forever.
Years ago, I was working for a company that did business with all different kinds of insurance companies. We dealt with some big names, but I had my heart set on John Hancock Insurance – the guys who owned and operated out of the tallest building in Boston. I’d look out at that building every day and I swear my eyes would tear up.
For YEARS we tried all different ways to get in touch with them and eventually got a meeting there. As we were prepping for the meeting, our HR head popped in and said, “Hey, I heard you guys are meeting with my Uncle Bob.” Mind blown. We had the golden ticket right here working with us in the same office. Her uncle was the freaking CIO.
Frankly it wasn’t even part of our process to check our team for anyone who knows someone. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the deal, but the moral is: Never overlook what your whole team’s connections are. You’ve got leverage at your fingertips.
So, as a salesperson what do you need to do to make sure you’re using your team’s full network?
Be Connected to Everyone’s LinkedIn
We spend a lot of time focusing on outside networks, but you should never neglect your first tier. Why? Because a. proximity, b. familiarity, and c. accountability. Human psychology makes us want to help out if we’re on the same team and if the odds of seeing each other again (on a daily basis) are high, the perceived obligation to make it happen will likely be higher than for someone who you don’t run into often.
You can also see who your contact’s contacts are on LinkedIn, which can make the bigger picture much easier to see. For new salespeople especially, it makes sense to see where the people are within your company and where their connections are against the target accounts.
Make In-Company Networking a Policy
At my last company we made it a requirement as part of the onboarding process for new employees, no matter what department, to share any possible connections they had for our target accounts.
If salespeople are communicating with their colleagues about who they are targeting, the odds are much higher that you’ll get something. If you’re working for for a 200 person company, for example, the possibilities are profound. I even know salespeople who run what are essentially marketing campaigns within their company using MailChimp, a free email automation program. Offer a Starbucks gift card or some small reward for anyone who helps you get a lead – be innovative – it doesn’t hurt.
Turn Networking Inside Out
Hmmm…a novel idea: Target companies that your inside contacts know instead of focusing on an outside target. Ever tried it? Let us know.
Turn Your Customers Into Leads
Don’t forget about your valued customers. If you’re doing a good job keeping them happy, then capitalize on it! Ask them for contacts. They’re very likely to help you with introductions if they like what you’ve done for them so far.
In my old company I mentioned before I got tons of contacts for new business from existing customers. A lot of industries aren’t as cut-throat competitive as you think. In my experience, they were often friendly with competition and happy to be references.
Keep your mind open when it comes to network and don’t neglect the forest for the trees! Tell us your innovative networking techniques below.
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