One of the easiest ways to increase sales is through networking and one of the best ways to network is to network easily. What I mean by this is to do things that come naturally to you.
Some of the ideas that can be helpful for networking are:
1. Join groups that you would be interested in joining. For example, if you like to run, join a running group; if you like to play bridge, join a bridge group; if you would like to go to church, become a member of a congregation. Joining a group just for the sake of networking, generally doesn’t work.
2. Volunteer to speak at events. You can start by speaking to small groups and then in time you can become more selective and speak to larger groups. Toastmasters is an excellent group to join to improve your speaking ability as well as another networking opportunity.
3. Write articles. There is something that makes someone seem like an expert when they write an article on a specific topic. Articles are easy to write if you are passionate about what you are writing about. There are also hundreds of publications that are hungry for material. Again, you will have to start small with local publications and work up to other publications. No one wants to publish you? Use some of the free online services like www.isnare.com or do a blog (which can be a great networking tool on its own).
4. Keep a Rolodex (I use Outlook) and keep it organized. Ideally include not only names and address but also a few points of interest about the person or their business.
5. Keep in touch with people. The best way to do this is to know what interests the people have and then send them personalized emails or notes with articles of interest attached. Do this with no intention of them buying but the more they know you, the more they will tend to buy.
6. Become an expert: Becoming an expert in any field is simple to do. First pick a topic that you are passionate about and then spend an hour a day reading trade journals; going to trade shows; and learning about that topic. Within six to eight weeks, you will be close to an expert in that field and people will turn to you for solutions.
7. Be generous: People tend to link happy occasions with gifts. Be prolific with gifts; for example, baby gifts – you will find that people are very grateful that you remembered their special occasion.
8. Follow-through: If you are trying to sell a product to a customer, make sure that you follow up with them so you can make the sale. Many times people will provide the information on the product and will tell the customer that they will get back to them, but don’t, so the sale falls through.
9. If you are going to be out there, work the room: What I mean by this is why go to a function and sit only with the people that you already know. No need to sit in the corner when you can mingle with new people and get to know them. This skill does not come naturally to introverted people; however, it is something that can be easily learned by stepping out of your comfort zone.
People tend to buy from people they know. Become more known and sell more. This is one way smaller companies and beat larger companies any day.