I was at the London Chamber of Commerce, attending a business breakfast.
At networking events, the biggest mistake people make is open with, “What do you do?” It’s unoriginal and not the best opening line. Sometimes people get defensive because they know you’re going to judge their worth on what they do.
Having the word “sales” in my title puts many people off, even though I make a massive difference to others.
So what I always say to people at networking events is “Hi, I’m Niraj, what brought you here?”
It's a different way to connect - and the second thing I say is, “Who can I introduce you to?"
I always say that because I like helping people. Business isn’t about you or your product. It’s helping others.
The person I helped turned out to be the VP at Barclays.
He told me his team were struggling with sales. So I asked the following:
If you ask too many questions, you sound like a reporter.
If you don’t ask good enough questions, you don’t stand out and in most peoples’ minds, salespeople are all the same, even though we’re not.
“Many of my team will not pick up the phone. They keep insisting they’re not salespeople.”
This is a common problem. You see, Everybody works in sales.
Account manager, Sales Development Rep, , Business Development Manager, Office Manager, Product Manager, Marketing Manager, they all have to sell.
I asked, “Can I show you some interesting pictures on my phone?”
An awkward pause and a mutual laugh thankfully followed after I realised what I said.
I took out my phone and I showed a training session I did a week earlier.
Powerpoint and handouts will only take you so far. The training I do is question and answers, it’s interactive. I get people involved and raise the energy of the room. My training is delivered by flipchart or a whiteboard. Nodding at a powerpoint all day is so boring and the sales team won’t develop or even care that much.
Pictures of my training sessions were on my phone.
Luckily, I had telephone training.
If somebody won’t pick up the phone you can't just teach them phone selling, you must address the mindset first.
So I delivered a training session about why you don't like the phone because you have to acknowledge fears people have.
Then I delivered a training session about why the phone’s important and here are the results I got for the company afterwards.
“What do you think?” I asked.
Nothing was said for 5 seconds.
It’s so important to have a pause when you say something important or discuss price. Give the other person time to think and process everything you’ve said.
“Brilliant, when can you come in?”
I must have gone for the best part of six months knocking on Barclays’ doors before that day, getting rejected by all the business managers and directors. A few of them had fancy job titles and zero buying power. Some people said they would get back to me and never did. A few actually said they had no use for sales – it was a LONG six months.
By pure luck - you do need a bit of luck - I met the VP of Trade at an event.
He had a problem and I give my solution. I’ve since delivered several training sessions to different Barclays branches and had 121 coaching with staff across the UK on sales, personal development and mindset.
Niraj is a trusted sales coach, LinkedIn trainer and author of the Amazon bestsellers, Everybody Works in Sales and The Easy Guide to Sales for Business Owners. He was recently announced as a Salesforce Top Sales Influencer To Follow in 2021.
He helps you with overcoming objections, mindset, prospecting, LinkedIn and hitting your target.
Contact him today through Professional Academy or LinkedIn to get results for your business.
If you want to enhance your abilities as a salesperson, whether at networking events, or over the phone - Professional Academy can help! Our range of ISM Sales Qualifications teach you the theory and practical skills you need to succeed in sales. Talk to an adviser or download a sales prospectus to learn more.