Some sellers may be feeling out of practice when it comes to networking. But it’s a skill that continues to be important. This is especially true as more professional sales networking opportunities arise. And it's no secret tht networking is valuable. According to HubSpot research, 44% of reps say tradeshows and events generate the best quality leads.
To make the most of these events, sellers should consider these best practices.
Embrace online events
Online networking is now considered a must-have professional sales skill. “One of the biggest trends in B2B networking you should utilize is attending more events more often,” LeadDelta suggests. And this means taking advantage of both in-person and virtual opportunities. While you may feel tired of contact over a screen, online networking still can be a great way to engage with others and build relationships. And think outside the box when looking for ways to network online. “Online events can be anything from live webinars to live chat sessions or even Discord chats,” LeadDelta explains. “They are great ways to engage your audience and provide them with an interactive learning experience.
Before the event, see if there are any social media pages and posts, hashtags, or groups that you can follow to learn more about who may be attending. This can help with pre-event research and prioritizing. Also, take advantage of any digital tools and features that are part of the event. And as Laura Ross suggests, in an article for Thomasnet.com, “Treat a virtual event exactly as you would an in-person one. Block the time out in your calendar, switch off your email notifications, grab a notebook and pen, and be present. You won’t have the capacity to engage with your fellow attendees if you are not 100% focused.”
Consider speaking at an event
Position yourself as a knowledgeable source and boost your sales credibility by finding events to join as a speaker. And there are plenty of opportunities available depending on how comfortable you are with public speaking. “Many conferences, both online and in-person, have speakers that can go anywhere from 5–30 minutes,” writes Sam Rinko for Selling Signals. “This is a great chance to build your reputation as an expert. “[And] one of the best outcomes of public speaking at business networking events is that you’ll have plenty to talk about during the mingling period.”
You’ll likely have interested potential prospects, as well as other sales colleagues, approach to ask a question or discuss your presentation. These are great opportunities to connect face-to-face and start building a more personal connection.
For advice on honing your professional sales speaking skills, take a look at SalesFuel’s collection of tips.
Follow-ups are a must
Don’t let your hard work go to waste; always follow up, whether the event was in-person, hybrid or virtual. This step is vital to making sure those initial meetings lead to further engagement. And don’t wait to do it either. People are busy, and you want your meeting to be fresh in their minds. Be thoughtful about how you choose to reach out, as you have many options, from a traditional telephone call to an email or LinkedIn message. No matter what method you choose, always remind them of your meeting, and then offer something helpful or valuable, preferably based on a conversation you had with them, as well as a call to action. It could be asking for a demo, a coffee or lunch get-together, or a Zoom call.
While networking has shifted, sellers should be ready to embrace professional sales best practices and trends to keep relationships growing. Doing so will help them successfully make connections that matter and will enrich their sales down the road.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk