Networks are the new sales strategy! That's a bold claim and I'm holding to it.
Let me prove it. Recently I have been approached by 4 people in regard to one new product to the market and the results point favourably to networking.
The product and service is "send out cards" - you too may have been approached? It's a US based franchise growing rapidly is Australia.
To avoid using names - Here are the 4 people I have encountered;
- The 'sweetie'
- The 'friend referral'
- The 'why bother'
- The 'pusher'
Introducing the sweetie...
I first heard about it in June, a lady at our public Create Networks course told me she had invested in it. As we were face to face, I was able to ask her questions and get lots of information about how it works. Being a card fan, I was keen to hear more. The course wasn't the time or place so we arranged a follow up coffee.
Introducing the friend referral...
The week later a colleague of mine told me about it and recommended I try it. Isn't is great when someone you respect also likes an idea that you do? - it really helps reinforce your decisions.
Introducing the 'why bother'
I received a random card in the mail from someone also selling the card service. It expected that I would act on that and since I didn't know the person, I didn't and never heard from them again (what a waste of a card and stamp).
Introducing the 'pusher'
I then had a voice mail from a women who left a very friendly "Hi, its doris (fake name of course), call me on xxx). Given that I speak in front of hundreds of people every week, and encourage them to call me with questions, I thought it was someone I had met and so I immediately returned the call.
She asked if I got her card. I hadn't. She got annoyed that I hadn't, so I asked where she sent it. She sent it to my old address. I asked how she knew me. She bluntly said she didn't and got my name from the website. She was scrambling to still pitch her card service and asked me what I do. The call started to really go bad as she became angry and my initial confusion turned into annoyance at her lack of research. She argued me that my address was on the website (clearly working hard to build a relationship with me!). You see, the website she looked at has a big sign on the home page announcing we have re-branded and directing people to the new site. It also has my bio and of course what our company specialises in (need I say more).
The card was re-directed to me from my old address that week .... and I promptly threw it away.
The Sweetie and the pusher both could have had by business. Unfortunately the sweetie has never properly followed up (despite my direct buying signals) and the pusher burnt her bridges (in a raging flame).
If I ever do invest in the cards, it will be through 'the sweetie' as we are now linked in many ways and have had several lunches, helped each other on work projects and realised we have a dear friend in common.
Networking is the best way to get in the door and cards are lovely as long as they have a purpose and are personalised.
Networking (face-to-face) started this netship (networking relationship), but remember that you need to put the time and work into developing them to sell when the buyer is ready and NEVER the other way around.
As always, get in touch to discuss.