Networking and selling only work if you ask the right question, do you want to buy?
At the age of 19 I started my first business I had an office, a phone and a typewriter (yep we are talking pre computers here). Luckily, I did realise people needed to know I was there and so I placed a 4 line ad in the local paper telling them who I was and what I offered. But, guess what, it didn’t bring me lots of sales. Looking back now I was setting myself up for failure. I had no idea that I needed to ask people to buy from me, I just thought they would need what I was offering and hand over the cash. Twenty years on I am now much more aware of sales, marketing, PR, how and why people do and don’t buy and what really makes people tick but does that mean I am any better at selling.
Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m British or because I’m a woman or just because I’m Rebecca Jones but I never have liked the hard sell. I really don’t like cold calling and I’m not one for pushing you into a decision to buy. I don’t like doing it to others and I don’t like others doing it to me.
And so folks I’ve learnt the art of networking and relationship building. For me it is a way to increase sales and makes selling more of a thing that happens rather than a forced situation. I prefer it if we get to know each other and understand what each of us wants before I make a sale.
Now this is the key part for me, making the sale. I see and hear time and time again women I work with saying networking doesn’t work for them. They think getting to know someone over time is the way to big sales. Let me tell you it is in fact a way to build a great friendship, but if you never ask them to buy or offer them your services or products then guess what they are not going to buy and its just like my 4 line ad in the paper telling them your there but not asking for any commitment from them.
For me then selling is about getting to know you, finding out what you need and what makes you tick. Developing a connection so you want to be associated with me, my work and my brand and then actually asking for a decision to buy. If you’ve built up a good connection with someone then you will know when the time is right to ask for referrals or purchasing decisions it will become a natural part of your conversations with others. But if you don’t ask then guess what you don’t get.
Rebecca Jones – The Red Shoe Biz Woman is the author of “Business in Red Shoes” a business book for women. Rebecca is also a professional speaker, coach and consultant working with women business owners and female leaders in the UK and America. Rebecca’s no nonsense approach to business and developing yourself has seen her become a sought after mentor for those wishing to make a difference in their lives, business and carers. Follow Rebecca at www.businessinredshoes.co.uk or on twitter @redshoebizwoman