Networking and how to master the art!


Zig Ziglar’s shares the obvious, but important to be reminded, and perhaps not reminded enough, regarding the necessity of being a King or Queen networker.

Dress to be the best:

Zig talks about how dress has become so casual that business owners are starting to underestimate the importance of it.  In Southern California I find it fairly rare that people wear ties, however, I do wear a good suit or sport coat when meeting with executives and important decision makers, especially for the first time.

Business cards:

Always have them, ready to go along with brochures.  I do this out of habit, whether I’m at lunch or during an evening social event.  Inevitably someone will ask for your card or ask what you do.  If you have a business card and brochure, at the ready, your potential client or business partner will be even more impressed.

Negative conversations:

Yes, avoid them at all costs.  In a relatively negative world, people want to hear things that make them happy.  Positive and uplifting comments or what I like to call my “dark humor” goes a long way.  If I’m thinking something negative I turn it into a joke or a witty comment to make the person laugh.  It’s just common sense.  Any person, that includes a customer or business partner, will want to see you more if you make them laugh, make them feel comfortable or at ease, and are helpful towards their mission.

Body language: 

Smile, nod, and act appreciative.  People want to talk about themselves.  Customers with big budgets don’t care about you or what you have to say about yourself because they already have a million vendors trying to convince them to buy and do what they want.  So, give it a rest.  Listen to them, their lives, their concerns, and their work challenges.  Problem solvers and listeners get paid.  If you are talking over someone, speaking one-uppers, and trying to convince someone your point of view is more correct then you should consider getting out of sales.

Following up – the little things that go a long way: 

Hand written thank you cards with a personal note.   I continue to try to do this on a regular basis, but given the high tech age with social media, email, texts, twitter, and more, a good old fashioned hand written note goes a long way!

Tony Bilby

The Importance of Networking

team networking

Team Networking

I can appreciate Jonathan Farrington’s thoughts in his article “Why I take an Interest in Anybody and Everybody – Do You?”

because I don’t and I should. I can appreciate the notion of giving and sharing versus bargaining and keeping score because as a salesperson I think we often fall into this, especially the younger version of me whom was seduced with the ideas of getting to the top any which way possible.

I have to remember this behavior really is contrary to human nature and that human happiness stems from helping, interacting, bringing value, as well as providing help and support.

As discussed in his blog, successful networking is about those most important tenants:

Receiving – Giving

It’s great to receive, close deals and make money, but it’s always great to donate, give, and provide for those that are less fortunate or in need. I do believe in Karma, or rather, a harmonious flow that exists between giving and receiving. It’s important we give thanks every day for what we receive and have and then give back when we can.

Contributing – Accepting Support

This is all about keeping an open mind. If you are self aware then you can certainly accept support as well as criticism. Now not all criticism is good, however, some is very critical and if you can move past the personality ego, and in many cases with salespeople a very strong personal ego, you may learn, evolve, and adapt along the way.

Offering – Requesting

This is very important. Remember to offer guidance, help, support, opinions and request feedback as well.

Self Promotion – Promotion of Others

I definitely feel like you should always be promoting your best and most valuable asset – yourself. And while you’re at it, certainly promote those within your network and group that are valuable and help you succeed!

Being Truthful – Being Persistent

When a customer or anyone wants to know more or they ask a question, especially a sales consultant in IT that might not know the answer to every question, always be truthful. If you don’t know the answer and you need to consult an engineer than do so and tell the customer you don’t have the answer, but you will do research and get the answer for them. The customer will appreciate the truth more than a sales angle.

Persistence is the key to most things in sales. That means follow up with the customer, follow up with the project, and everything else associated with keeping them happy and the business successful. If a door closes or continues to close – never give up – another one will open that will be even bigger and better than before.

Tony Bilby