5 Reasons Networking Is a Salesperson's Most Powerful Tool The ability to network is key for sales success in a fast-paced working world.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
While a savvy salesperson may be able to achieve some short-term results without building these essential relationships, those who wish to lay the foundations for lasting success know they cannot achieve their goals without well-thought-out networking efforts.
Without further ado, here are some great reasons why networking is a salesperson's most powerful tool -- and why it absolutely must become part of your sales arsenal:
In many ways, networking is nothing more than in-person advertising. It's a way of showing who you are and what you have to offer. Networking gives you a chance to get your name out and build a reputation for yourself. Engaging others in meaningful, face-to-face conversation often leaves a far better impression than a cold call. After all, your in-person interactions are a great way to demonstrate your positivity, approachability and authenticity -- as long as you do more than simply try to make a sale when you talk with others.
When done right, even if someone you network with isn't interested in buying your product right now, they are more likely to remember you positively, which could pay big dividends down the road.
Networking is often cited as a way of opening doors to new job opportunities -- and in the sales world, it naturally creates new sales opportunities. Quite simply, you are far more likely to be offered a referral or have someone approach you for information if you have already displayed your willingness to provide value to others.
The referral pipeline
Another significant advantage of networking is that it gives sales professionals a chance to build a strong referral pipeline. Remember, true networking isn't focused on just helping yourself -- it's also about lending a helping hand to others. You might not be able to help someone with graphic design work, but if you've been doing your networking right, you'll know a quality designer who you can refer them to.
This generates a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mentality, where others become far more likely to refer potential clients to you. This not only helps you build a stronger reputation, it also ensures that you have a steady stream of new clients coming to you on a consistent basis.
Most everyone can recognize the difference between a person who genuinely wants to provide value to others (regardless of whether they become paying customers or not) and someone who is only in it for making a sale. Whether you're sharing knowledge or helping others form valuable connections, providing genuine value allows you to build authority in your niche.
This is the same principle that applies in content marketing -- when others perceive you as a valuable source of information, they become far more likely to trust your insights and suggestions. Building authority within a particular niche will help you become a go-to resource for consumers in the future, which will naturally lead to more sales opportunities.
Learning new insights
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of networking is that it allows sales professionals to gain valuable insights about the needs of their clients. When you actually listen to someone, you have the chance to learn their story and understand the pain points that they need help resolving. You may also gain insights into how a particular company or industry works, or even what barriers exist that could prevent you from making a sale.
This makes it far easier to identify how your product or service can help your sales leads address their concerns. In addition, true networking gives you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and gain feedback that can help you perform better at your job. New insights and knowledge are always going to be beneficial.
Now's the time to start networking
Networking isn't about getting a sale right away (though that can certainly happen in some situations). Rather, it is all about fostering genuine relationships that will pay dividends further down the road. As you make networking a top priority for your sales staff, you'll be able to cultivate far greater results than ever before.