In the world of sales, no network equals less business. Typically, the majority of new openings and opportunities are not made common knowledge. Instead, high-profile business opportunities will be seized by those savvy sales professionals who’ve taken the time to nurture an effective network of useful contacts.
In all sales jobs, a wide-reaching, active network can be the real key to success.
Here are a few pointers for developing and expanding a robust network of contacts.
- Attend as many social and business functions as possible, such as trade shows and conferences.
- Make the effort to talk to and instigate business relationships with as many new people as possible.
- Even if there doesn’t appear to be immediate business potential, take care not to dismiss certain connections – they may be useful further down the line.
- Be helpful to your contacts and return any favours in making introductions happen.
- Start a network with people in your immediate social group – such as friends and family. They may be able to refer you on to useful, interesting contacts.
- Look to your past. Are there any past tutors or employers who you could spark up a business relationship with?
- Be organised and keep detailed records of all your contacts’ details and any communication/correspondence you’ve had with them.
- Make the effort to get in touch with contacts at regular intervals throughout the year.
- Set clear objectives for yourself with regard to generating sales leads.
- Make definite decisions about the types of sales leads you want and work backwards through your network to find a suitable starting point. Be persistent and prepared to use numerous referrals to get to the contact you need.
- Don’t take your network for granted. Be responsive, respectful and always thank people for their help. Try to be helpful as well as being helped and keep your network up-to-date with any new work circumstances.
To get a job in sales and to stay ahead in the competitive world of sales, having a well-developed network can make all the difference.