10 Commandments of Networking-Related Prospecting

Networking is a social activity that most sales professionals embrace as part of the professional mandate. Unfortunately, many tend to put the “sales” part ahead of the “professional” piece. Adhering to these 10 Commandments of Prospecting will make your life easier and you accelerate your results.

  1. Every person you meet has the potential to help you. One of the biggest mistakes sales people make is to pre-judge others. Prospecting is the activity of meeting others. Don’t discount a potential prospect because you feel that they don’t qualify before you spend a few moments really getting to know who they are, what their real needs are and who they might know.
  2. Always put the person ahead of the business. Selling is a people business, not a product business. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When prospecting with others, focus first on developing a relationship with them as a person, setting aside your selling needs. As your relationship develops and trust builds, you will quickly see how the sales process will fit.
  3. Develop the discipline of being a student of listening. Time is our most valuable asset. When we listen to others, we demonstrate our respect and sincerity towards them. Prospecting means gathering information. The best way to get information about others is to ask questions and listen for the answers. Most people will give you the key to their wants and needs within the first two or three minutes if you listen carefully.
  4. Focus on one person at one time. Selling is a one-on-one, one-at-a-time activity. When you meet another person, focus all of your attention on them. To prospect effectively you must really listen to what the other person has to say. That one contact can represent a multitude of opportunities. Trying to see who else is in the room or watching for another contact while speaking with someone will only rob you of the opportunity to get quality information as well as insult the other person.
  5. Take responsibility for effective communication. Professional sales people understand that most folks are very anxious about meeting others. They take responsibility for the communication process to make others feel at ease. Part of prospecting success involves communicating the message about your product or service in a manner that others will understand and respond to.
  6. Be sincerely curious. The trait of being sincerely curious about another person has a powerful effect. Others pick up on your sincerity and feel very much at home. Expressing a sincere interest in the other person’s situation or issue is one of the best prospecting skills. It brings out the other person’s pain or passion and allows you to better position your product or service.
  7. Seek to create interest and enthusiasm. Prospecting is a highly creative process that is based on mutual interest. We all like to be with people who have a high level of enthusiasm. Selling has, in fact, been called a transfer of enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic and positive, it transfers to the other person and creates a higher interest level, inspires dialogue and brings forth more information.
  8. Work on developing a reason for others to want to stay in touch with you. Prospecting is the process of discovering needs. When you find that the other person has a need, one of the best things you can do is let them talk about it, explain and expand on it. Your prospecting responsibility is then to work on helping them meet that need. This will create an opportunity for future contact, create a debt of obligation or develop trust.
  9. Respond to folks who express warmth and comfort. Continually seek out people who respond to you as a person. These are usually the people who want to help us or are those who will respond best to our help. Relationships develop more quickly with people we are comfortable with. Some people are naturally attracted to us as we are to them. Use a prospecting style that makes it easy for you and for them by being ready for these moments.
  10. Expect that most people aren’t initially excited about your product or service. Selling is a highly emotional process. We are heavily attached to our product or service and many people will not share our level of enthusiasm. Discipline yourself to use the prospecting process to find out the other person’s state of mind before proceeding to the presentation or product stage of the sales process.

Do you want to use networking to achieve more and better sales results? Email me at info@NetworkingForResults.com to get your complimentary 20-page “Managing the Networking Experience” ebook.