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The following is a post from my Selling without Selling Network on Ryze.com.

POSTING:
I just joined this group as I feel I need some help selling my services and promoting myself. I have a few clients so far, but need many, many more to be successful and able to quit my part time jobs and concentrate all of my efforts on my business.

A couple of days ago I met with a marketing person from the local small business center. He had a few good ideas, but he also thinks cold calls are the way to go. I don’t like cold calls and I don’t know if they are beneficial or not. I know I hate it when someone calls me looking for business. More often than not I will hang up on them. Now, I have no problem calling someone if another person says “so and so has expressed interest in a website or needs a brochure”.

I am really trying to hit the people who do not belong to the local chambers (which are quite expensive) and want some help marketing their business. I have done some networking, but every group up here wants you to join and spend a small fortune in dues, not a good option. Plus the people I am trying to reach also don’t have the money to spend on dues to join groups.

The problem with website design is that everyone thinks they can design a website. I have two degrees, one in journalism and one in e-commerce, and there is a lot more to a good website than just clicking a mouse. So I need to somehow let people know that I have quite a bit of knowledge and experience in this area.

This looks like a great place to be and I am sure I will learn a lot.

Donna, Gizmo Creations

RESPONSE:

Networking is very important. Building your business through referrals and word-of-mouth is a great way to go because it gives you an automatic level of credibility.

One reason networking is important is that it helps you develop ‘warm’ calls instead of cold calls. It is so much easier to say to someone, “I’m Donna Evans, Diane Carter told me to contact you regarding your web needs.”

Better yet have me call and do a brief introduction and break the ice for you. Then your call sounds more like, “”Hello, my name is Donna Evans with Gizmo Creations, I spoke to Diane Carter yesterday and she mentioned you needed a professional web designer, I believe she may have called you and mentioned my name……….”

Cold calling requires a huge sales funnel, well heck, sales in general requires a huge sales funnel but warm calls can help shorten the cycle because of the assumed credibility it gives you.

The sells cycle is also based on the investment required. The higher the investment the longer you can expect the sells cycle to be. Selling a widget for $14 is almost a no-brainer. Selling a jet airplane for a million bucks takes time. I’m sure you fall somewhere in the middle. Which brings us back to relationship selling. If I’m spending a million dollars on a jet airplane you can bet I’m buying it from someone I trust. Someone who is dependable, ethical and responsible and that’s with the salesperson the same and more apply to the company.

Terry Green also made an excellent point in another posting to the network. I’m sure she won’t mind me posting it here to:

Terry posted, “I treat my clients the way I would want to be treated, as individuals – as people. Without getting into all of the grubby details of their lives, I want to know as much as I can about them so that I can understand them and connect with them. Understanding who my clients are as people provides great insight into who they are and what they do as business owners. Customer service is also my very top priority with every client. By providing excellent customer service, I ensure that the emotional connection I make with my clients is a positive one.”

You also said, “I have done some networking, ……. Plus the people I am trying to reach also don’t have the money to spend on dues to join groups.”

Don’t forget that the process of networking is to build relationships for referrals. I believe a lot of people fail to understand that. I never go to an event expecting to sell 2 out of 5 people I meet. Hey, if you meet someone that you sell — EXCELLENT — celebrate — but the reason to network is to build your sphere of influence to increase your warm referrals. Besides if a networking group has 20 members that’s only 20 web sites and that’s maxed out. But if you build relationships together those 20 people could know more than 2500 individuals – that’s what you want. You want their networks! Just 3% of their ‘sphere of influence’ could led to 75 sites, which could led to networks that could produce 225 additional sites and so on……you do the math.

Diane Carter
Creative Coach & CEO, sam101.com

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