Improve your sales: Fish Where the Fish Are

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Improve your sales: Fish Where the Fish Are

There is an old saying, “If you want to catch fish, fish where the fish are.” This quote directly applies to business development strategies that increase contact with the right decision makers.

So just where do you find these good ‘fishing holes’ that provide introductions and opportunities to the economic buyer? Strong referral networks are still a great way to meet these elusive, busy buyers. Unfortunately most sales professionals don’t understand the last four letters in the word network—work. Our instant gratification society doesn’t lend itself to building solid relationships. Many salespeople think that one breakfast meeting does the trick for building a relationship. Building strong networks is a lot like building a successful financial portfolio—you must invest time and energy before enjoying a return on the investment.

Here are five areas of time investment that yield big results:

  • A salesperson must invest time with potential referral partners to make sure business and personal values are aligned. I made a mistake years ago referring a client to a coach who was really just interested in getting more time on the clock than results.
  • Partners must take time to understand the demographics and psychographics of each other’s prospects. Once you know what to look and listen for, you will be able to make more effective introductions.
  • Investment of time means picking up the phone and making a call of introduction for your partner versus saying, “Tell Charlie I told you to call.” Yes, it takes more time. And yes, it achieves better results.
  • Investment of time means keeping your referral partners informed of the outcome of the introduction. Has anyone besides me referred an opportunity and didn’t know whether it turned into a sale or not?
  • Investment of time means looking for opportunities everyday that will help your partners businesses grow.

Good fishing holes can also be found by becoming involved in associations. Membership in associations can be a good or bad investment, depending on your qualification of the association and your personal involvement.

Sales professionals join associations to meet referral partners and/or potential clients. If the association doesn’t have either one, you are ‘fishing’ at the wrong place. It’s a well known fact that people with influence and connections are on committees and/or running the committees. Don’t fall into the easy trap of just showing up to association meetings to eat lunch and hear a great speaker. The only thing you will build is your waistline!

If you want to catch more fish, fish where the fish are.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.

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