You’ve landed your first job in sales and can’t wait to start networking. It’s true…reps in high commission sales jobs should make networking events a key component in their sales strategy. But that’s not where the sales happen. So before you put your name on the “Hello My Name Is” sticker, here are a few things you should know.
No time for selling
Many who are new to advertising sales and similar jobs make the mistake of thinking that networking events are an opportunity to sell. The reality is this: Networking events are all about making connections and building relationships. The sales will come later.
Even in today’s digital world, business cards are still the preferred method of sharing contact information in a business networking setting. So be sure to keep at least a few business cards and a working pen in your jacket pocket or an easily accessible section of your bag or purse.
Avoid your comfort zone
The best way to make new connections at a networking event is to resist the temptation to hang out with people you already know or others who are in sales manager jobs. It may seem awkward at first, but make it a point to introduce yourself to someone new within the first few minutes of your arrival. This will get easier with practice.
Focus on others
When you do meet someone, other than introducing yourself and stating your line of business, don’t go overboard talking about yourself. Instead, ask questions about the other person’s line of work, and be sure your body language conveys that you’re really listening.
Follow up with your connections
So you met a few new people and had some great conversations with several promising prospects…now what? Timely follow up is the key to forging relationships with anyone you meet at a networking event.
But following up on potential new business prospects doesn’t mean simply adding them to your contacts list in your phone or email. Instead, within a day or two after the event, send each person a personalized email or even a handwritten note. It doesn’t need to be extensive, just a few words thanking him or her for their time. For an added personal touch, include a reference to something you discussed at the event.
Follow these proven networking tips and your increased sales should follow!