LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Blog
5 Keys to Turning Networking Calls Into Sales Calls
Whether at the local coffee shop or on the phone, we all know the feeling. You're on a call to “get to know about each other's businesses” and wondering if it's really worth your time.
For seasoned sales professionals, the opportunity to “get to know about each other” is nothing but code for “sales call.”
And for many of our clients, they've mastered the art of turning these calls into productive sales conversations.
1. Start by just getting to know the prospect.
If you get on the phone and say to a prospect, “Hey, thanks for agreeing to the call. Let me tell you about my services and why you should buy them” …. You'll fail miserably.
Instead take at least a handful of minutes to introduce yourself, and show genuine interest in the prospect's business. Ask questions about them, their company, their target markets, their history, and come up with some ideas for how you might be able to help them in a certain way or make an introduction for them.
2. Then, tell them about what you do in a non-salesy way.
Share a bit about your history, and make it relatable to the story the prospect just told you. Did you go into business around the same time? Do you serve some of the same markets? Stuff like that can really build a quick bond with a prospect.
Don't make it sound like an informercial.
The key throughout the call is really to build rapport. If you can't do that, then it's going to be challenging to win this person's business.
3. Then, ask a question that could expose a need.
After you've had a chance to explain what you do, simply ask the prospect “How are you guys currently handling this in your business?
Or, “I'd be remiss to ask who you are currently using for this?”
Or, “I think based on what I hear that what we do might actually be a great fit for your business, what do you think?”
4. Do not push too hard.
If they are not biting at this point, don't start going all GlenGarry Glen Ross on them.
Instead, understand that they simply aren't ready yet. Some day they will be though, and at that time you want to be the one they think of. So don't spoil it now by acting like a used car salesman.
Their current provider will some day go away. Or, maybe they just need more time to get comfortable with you. Either way, it's only a matter of time.
5. Get them into your marketing funnel.
For prospects that aren't ready right away, you should have something to offer them to continue staying in touch.
This could be an offer to email them your white paper, attend an upcoming webinar, or anything like that.
Or, it could be something as simple as “Hey Mark, well it's been great talking with you. I actually put out a monthly newsletter with great tips on X, Y and Z. Would it be ok if I sent that to you?”
People will rarely say no. And now you've got their permission to market to them for the long haul.
What it comes down to is this.
Ask for their business in a professional, but informal way. If they aren't quite ready, get them on your email list.
If you can execute on this process, every networking call will be a sales call.