You attend local networking events, meet new people, and exchange business cards. You participate in lead exchange groups like BNI in hopes of getting referrals. Create profiles on popular social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Yet you’re still wondering why you don’t seem to be able to turn new contacts into sales with all this networking.
Sound even remotely familiar?
While many business professionals work very hard to gather new contacts, the area where I see so many of them break down is in their ability to nurture those new contacts into long-term relationships. Relationships that can eventually turn into the increased sales that most of them are looking for.
So how do you go about turning new contacts into sales?
Here are six ways to help you take your professional relationships to a deeper, more prosperous level for all.
Part I: Acknowledge Often
Our first three tips have to do with acknowledging your new contact whenever appropriate. Doing so will make deposits into your relationship bank account with that contact.
1. Give Kudos
As humans, we’re never too old to enjoy positive attention. So if you stumble upon someone you know being quoted, discussed, or acknowledged publicly either in the media or by other professionals in their absence, give them a call or send them an email to let them know and congratulate them.
2. Look For Opportunities To Acknowledge Your Contacts
Acknowledge them on holidays, birthdays, and other cultural or religious special days.
For example, a person’s name day is highly celebrated in Greece — arguably more than even their birthday. So if your new contact happens to be of Greek descent, acknowledging them on that particular day can make a significant deposit into your relationship bank account.
So familiarizing yourself with what’s important to your contacts and reaching out to them on those special days can go a long way in building a solid bond.
3. Acknowledge Selfless and/or Extraordinary Actions
If you witness them doing something outstanding or selfless, let them know how their actions touched, moved, or inspired you.
Part II: Be A Connector
4. Connect Them With People
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to connect people. If someone’s looking for an electrician, refer one. If someone’s target market is Dentists and you know a few, introduce them. Someone’s looking to join a networking group, connect them with someone who runs one. Two people you’ve met separately at the same networking event share a common interest, become the conduit, and introduce them. My point is that helping others connect typically doesn’t go unnoticed and is a win-win for all.
5. Connect Them With Information
Forward along timely, helpful, and entertaining information. Stumble across a great article on golf, send a copy to those you know who are golf enthusiasts. Read a great book on sales that has helped your business grow, recommend it to others who may also benefit from its wisdom. Don’t be stingy here; share the gift of knowledge whenever possible.
6. Connect Them With Events
Inform them of events that may be of interest. When I say events, I mean any professional networking, entertainment, or educational events. Some examples might be, if you have a contact who is struggling with their finances and you know of a financial guru giving a free teleseminar, let your contact know about it. If you’re attending an event that you expect to be excellent for networking with real estate experts, and you happen to have a contact that serves that target market, invite them. In other words, always be in the know of what events are happening around you and ask yourself who else I know that may be interested in this event?
BONUS TIP: Active Listening
Now to successfully carry out these six ways I’ve shared with you here, there’s one critical skill that you’ll need to employ and continually develop, and that is to be a great listener. No, I’m not talking about the type of passive listening that many of us engage in most of the time. Instead, I’m talking about active listening — The type of listening where you are actually paying attention well enough to learn what’s really important to the person you’re speaking with. Through the skill of effective listening, you’ll harvest the seeds necessary to ensure healthy relationships down the road.
Let's Wrap This Up
So in closing, always remember that people buy from people they know, like, and trust. So it behooves you to look for ways to nurture your professional relationships continuously. Do that effectively and watch their value and your success soar.
Want More On Turning New Contacts Into Sales?
Here’s the original podcast I recorded back in 2006 for Online Marketing Muscle on the subject. For the most part, it’s just as relevant today as it was back then. Check it out.
Duration: 4 minute, 36 seconds