Your network used to be the people you knew, the people who referred you, the people you had some degree of trust with. Then there was the rest of the world – your customers, your prospects and the people who will or would buy from you. These are the people you “followed up” with.
Communicating with the people you know = networking
Communicating with the people you don’t know = selling
This is old school thinking.
If there is one thing that most sellers are genuinely poor at – it is following up. Most follow up opening statements go something like this:
“Hi, it’s Carson from Direct Contact calling – it’s been a few months since we last spoke so I thought I would give you a call today.”
This kind of follow up has absolutely no value for the buyer. It is simply asking/stating that “It has been at least 3 months since you bought something or last said no to me – are you ready to buy something now?” All this kind of salesy talk does is reinforce stigmas and frustrate buyers.
In the paradigm of Sales2.0, this kind of separation no longer exists. Effective sellers do not follow up with but network with their prospects and customers. Who exactly is in your network today? Everybody is. Your customers, your prospects, your friends, your contacts… etc… Sellers are connecting with business people daily – surely there are referral opportunities between prospects and customers in your pipeline right now.
So how do you do that exactly?
Give people something they value – information.
There are a couple of very easy ways to do this. RSS feeds are a great example.If you don’t know what an RSS feed is – click here – and then come back to this post.
Using RSS (or Google Alerts) to collect information to share with your market is an effective way of staying in touch and providing value at the same time. Include the article link in an email with a brief statement such as:
“I came across this and thought of you today – hope things are going well. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you and keep in touch.”
Pretty simple. To the point, No selling allowed.
Stop following up and start networking.