As individuals, we are all blessed with unique skills and idiosyncratic strengths. However, there is one skill that everyone can always improve – the art of selling & building relationships. These skills are often overlooked and not held in the same esteem as some polarized hard skills that Corporate America taught you to value more than anything else. Nevertheless, understanding how to effectively build relationships and “sell” can lead to landing new & exciting job opportunities, securing investors for your business, building a robust network of impressive people, and potentially finding the ideal significant other for yourself. In order to level up your networking, there are 3 key components that everyone should be familiar with:
- How To Conduct Cold Outreach & Setup A Call
Cold outreach is extremely uncomfortable for most people who are initiating correspondence. Why is it uncomfortable? Well, it’s because it is human nature to naturally be afraid of rejection. As human beings, the majority of us fear the unknown; the slightest possibility of being rejected sends chills to our bones & makes our nerves uneasy. However, once you get over this minor mental block, you will realize that cold outreach is a sport. This sport starts with researching & prospecting. Conduct in-depth research and identify “qualified leads”. Remember, outreach is only effective if you are reaching out to the right people. Understand who you are trying to reach and ensure that you have carved out a thought-provoking message that will yield a response. Keep in mind, no one will want to connect with you or speak to you if you are not adding value to them. Be sure to get the prospect’s attention, show that you are a credible source, explain the value in connecting with you, and go for the close by having some kind of call-to-action. Remember – attention, credibility, value, close. However, it’s very simple – “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Don’t be timid. You are someone of value and someone who people should want to connect with.
This paradigm shift in your mentality will be vital. Setting up a call can be quite challenging for some. In order to sell effectively & build a strong relationship, you have to know your prospect well. It’s imperative that you ask an array of relevant open-ended questions. The answers to these questions will be deemed your value propositions as you now know what is most important to your prospect. Do not finish your correspondence (whether via cold call or cold email) without getting some sort of commitment, whether it’s a confirmed time for follow-up correspondence or a commitment to purchase your product/service.
The key is in the messaging. Once again, show the value in connecting with you and make sure your outreach is personal. A generic approach will yield a generic response – keep that in mind.
- How To Turn A Call Into A Meeting
The next step in the relationship-building process is what we call “getting in front of them”. This is when you attempt to convert your prospect during a face-to-face meeting. Given the prominence of teleconferencing & video conferencing platforms, there is a novelty associated with a face-to-face meeting in our modern-day society – one that did not exist before. If someone has agreed to a call with you, you have leaped across the biggest hurdles in the process. You have done the researching & prospecting, you have reached out to someone who you do not know & successfully gotten their attention, you have exchanged dialogue via telephone and you kept that person interested during the call. Nevertheless, you now have to go for the close! Ask, “Is your calendar in front of you? When would be a good time for us to connect in person? There’s obviously a lot of synergy here and it would be great to build upon this over a handshake & coffee.” The previously mentioned is just an example but a great template for those who feel uncertain and are apprehensive about being so forthcoming. Keep in mind, verbiage and diction are very important. Furthermore, understanding the art of asking questions is of paramount importance as well. Do not ask leading questions that can be responded to with a “yes” or a “no”, because if the answer is “no” your back is now against the wall. Instead, ask open-ended questions that require the individual to provide a comprehensive response or elaborate.
- How To Facilitate A Meeting Effectively & Ultimately Get A Commitment
Congratulations, you got the meeting! Most importantly you were able to show enough value that the individual agreed to meet with you. This potential client, investor or business partner is yours to lose. However, positivity begets positivity so this potential client, investor or business partner is yours to win! Be sure to strike the balance between connecting (personally) & discussing business-related topics. During a business meeting, it’s important to understand the prospect before presenting your ideas. It doesn’t hurt to ask a series of open-ended questions once again. Understanding your prospect gives you leverage as you can pivot and present value propositions that you, your service or product have to offer in a more compelling fashion contingent upon what your prospect has deemed most valuable. Now, you have to be mindful that too much time should not elapse before you go for the close. You should not be scrambling toward the end of the meeting to try and “get the question in”. Being hesitant and not closing is a mistake that 90% of human beings make. You have already done the heavy lifting so you should not lack the courage to ask for a commitment. The easiest way to go about asking for the commitment is by asking, “How would you like to move forward?” or “What is the best way for us to work together?”.
While building new relationships & selling can be a bit daunting for some, once you follow the aforementioned steps, respect the process, and finally realize your true value, you will find this sport extremely gratifying.