From Networking to Client Lunch to Increase Sales: 3 Easy Steps
Wonder how to convert your networking efforts into increased sales? The results you want will come from an all-important – and too often overlooked – second step: the client lunch. Without creating quality face time, you may as well stay home and give up networking completely. After all, the purpose of networking is not just to build your network; the real purpose is to build your entire business! That means getting to know more people and really build a lasting business relationship … with the ultimate goal of achieving increased sales.
Networking isn’t always easy. You squeeze in time for a certain number of events every month – from Chamber of Commerce meetings to industry-specific mixers and luncheons. It can be hard to pull yourself away from your desk to attend these events, but you hope it will be worth the time, money, and effort. When you get overwhelmed, though, and don’t follow up by inviting new contacts to join you for a client lunch, you are missing out on the increased sales and desired success that motivated you to attend the event in the first place.
There is never enough time to establish a solid or productive new business relationship at most networking events. That is why you should invite any interesting new contact to meet you a few days later for a client lunch. If you want to increase sales, this is a critical step and the very best way to convert your efforts at networking into increased sales. A lot can go wrong at a client lunch IF you are not prepared, which is why I wrote The Art of the Business Lunch and speak on the subject. It’s not just about sharing a meal; it’s about driving your relationships to build your business … ie: INCREASED SALES!
Networking > Client Lunch > Increased Sales
By inviting people you meet at networking events to a client lunch, you’ll pave the way to build the kinds of business relationships that will result in increased sales. Whenever I speak on getting the most out of networking events, I always say, “Imagine that someone in the room has a “$10,000 bill” in their pocket just for you; your job is to find that person and get your money!” I’m being dramatic to illustrate the point. If you think back over your career, I’m sure you can pinpoint the people who have taken your business to a higher level. Now, think of how you met them. The odds are pretty good that you met them either at an event or through another business relationship you have. Networking is a great way to meet people, but the best part about networking is that the more people you know, the more introductions you can get to meet the people who are essential to your business’s success.
Here is the way to capitalize on your networking and how to turn it into a client lunch that will result in increased sales:
Once you meet someone interesting, find out who they know and where they go. In other words, ask them what kind of events they typically attend and which of these events they find most productive. Most of us love to called upon for our insights and expertise. Ask if you can join them at one such event. And, most importantly, invite them to a client lunch. (Note: If you are on a very tight budget, you can accomplish these same objectives with a Client Breakfast!) When you plan that lunch, ask them if they would like to invite someone else whom THEY think you might enjoy meeting. Doing this will go far in making your new contact feel extremely comfortable about joining you for lunch; after all, now it’s “two of them and just one of you!” They know they will have fun because they will get to enjoy a lunch with someone they know they enjoy AND they will get to know more about you and vice verse.
Then, during the client lunch, find out all you can about your new contact’s business, industry, and opinions about a wide array of topics, though be sure to avoid discussing anything controversial. This information will help you as you take your next step, finding out ways you can help your client to build THEIR business. This type of selfless investment will pay you dividends in the long run. Think about this: when someone helps YOU, don’t you want to go out of your way to help THEM in return? Of course you do. Sometimes, building relationships like this can take months or even years, but you will soon find that you are building your business exponentially and your network reach – in your industry AND in your community – will be extensive. The more people you know, the more successful your business will become, and the more increased sales you’ll enjoy.
If you have any questions about anything you’ve read in this blog, feel free to submit a comment and I will answer it personally. Be sure to include your email. ~ Robin