Selling and Networking
…and currently undecided about how best to tackle it.
Note that much of what is and might be covered in this Section may duplicate what appears in other Sections.
Comments are invited by anyone reading this. In fact, the expectation will be that this interactive element will constitute the major part of this Section.
Notwithstanding this, we are currently creating Technical Topics around Consultative Selling and about Networking and about Social Media. Our view is that all this technical wizardry does not change the amount of work available in any material way but it does change who gets it.
Clearly – in all its forms – the dominating force in Selling is Networking – it’s all about being face to face with buyers and having a professional product that has appeal and currency.
We differentiate Selling from Marketing – in that Marketing is about working out what to do and selling is about doing it. This might throw up some inconsistencies and/or duplications.
Here are the main components in Selling Interim Management Services – in fact selling any professional service – that you might like to consider in developing your own Selling plan:-
- It’s all about what works and what does not work – but the ground in between can often prove fruitful under certain circumstances.
- Make your list carefully and correctly of selected targets.
- See if you can ask for and generate good contacts through people you know.
- Send real letters to them.
- Email them – although this medium is less effective than hitherto due to volume and irrelevance.
- Always follow up by phone.
- Create an advantage – such as a mutual contact/friend or supplying some relevant information or doing someone a favour (reciprocity invariably works.)
- Get in the media – articles or writing a book or platform appearances.
- Go to conferences, exhibitions. (Get a guest list. Study it. Ask a question).
- Always ask for a referral.
- Note what your competitors do – particularly the successful ones.
- Being good at what you do – and with some reputation or good evidence to support it – is the best selling tool. It gets you repeat business – often even without trying!
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Think about doing this
- Identify 500 (Why not?) targets, feed them into a database (or, preferably, a good CRM system) and write to them in batches of 50 per day.
- Follow them ALL up within five working days of despatch.
- Send your CV.
What you want is a meeting but what you’ll get will nearly always be something different and mostly nothing. What you need to finish up with are continuously changing and updated stories written into your database of your 500 possible sales targets, including intermediaries.
You will accumulate information. Much of it, you will be able to use at some time and in some way. You will gradually make contacts and build a practice. You will be continuously surprised at where work comes from.
What has not changed is the excess of supply over demand in professional services in the UK – although the quantum of the excess does change.
None of this is easy…
… particularly for those with no sales or similar backgrounds – but the nearer you get to the ideal the more it will work for you. As an Interim Manager, you need to make the running. You need to be in control of your own working life. Those who say that this approach does not work – tell us what works better. Adopt the attitude that if it is not working it is you who are not doing it properly (properly means quality and volume and non-invasive persistence ). You also need some luck.
Being an Independent means being in control. This means, we would suggest:-
- Constantly looking outwards for opportunities which may not be instantly recognised as opportunities.
- Making new contacts all the time and exploring how mutual benefits might be created.
- Continuously learning new things about your own professional ‘product’, relearning things you know already and practising what you do know. (If you think you know enough, it’s time to pack it in!).
- Regularly find out what people really think about you! Are you likeable? Do you look good? Do you listen? Are you really good at what you do? If you’re barking up the wrong professional tree or clinging to the wrong professional wreckage, how would you find out? Do you need to change and can you change? (See Technical Topic – The Supporter’s Guide.)
- Developing some support activities that you can work with during downtimes (Eg: selling software, writing a book, articles, etc., lecturing, Charity work, M&A fringe work, etc.)
- Keeping a balance in your life. If running your own business becomes an all-consuming obsession (particularly if you are not making enough money) and you have no time for anything else, your performance will deteriorate.