A Sales Pipeline From Online Networking

by | Jul 13, 2020 | Business Strategy

A Sales Pipeline From Online Networking

A sales pipeline from online networking.

Your buyers buying journey has changed. It’s time to throw all your marketing strategies and sales funnels out of the window and start again.

Or is it?

What has changed?

Have you spent time analysing your prospects buying cycle during the last 4 months? To discover what still works and what needs to change.

People are creatures of habit and business owners prefer to buy in similar methods to those that they’ve trusted before, which commonly is face to face networking or meetings. 

If your previous sales strategy was built via networking events and one to one meetings, has the only change been our need to use technology to hold each meeting?

If so can we continue to drive the 3 key steps our buyers need through modern day Zoom or Skype calls? Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

Or has the change been more dramatic and you can no longer find your prospects online. Those that networked are still there, but it will take some time to find which online groups they’ve moved to.

Remember, online networking can be enhanced with digital assets such as social media and blogs. The same way traditional networking is with business cards and flyers. With 75% of internet users reading blogs and an increase of social media users since the start of 2020.

And for those that think a push to online networking is racing ahead I challenge you to accept that we were moving online anyway. 72% of buyers are more likely to share content via email and after the initial sale prefer to communicate online.

Below are a few of the frustrations I hear and how to overcome them.

“My sales pipeline comes from networking, what do I do now?”

Stats from 2016, showed that 40% of prospects became new customers after an in-person meeting. This data is a few years out of date. Yet, from talking to other professionals, this still has some relevance.

From pitching to everyone in the room, to the one-to-one meetings the physical interaction gives a chance to build a friendship and let potential buyers know your personality. This feeds into trust and authority and breaks down their fear of the unknown

Even though networking has moved online you can still use the same buyer journey to build trust and develop a sales pipeline with that potential buyer, but with additional online steps before meeting in person.

Don’t see the additional steps as wasted time but a unique way to phase out the 60% what wouldn’t have brought before you meet. 

When online start with where your buyers are likely to be by considering which networking groups would they go to.

Quick tip:  Don’t neglect messaging services. More than one third (35%) say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn Messaging has led to a new opportunity.

“It’s taking longer to close.”

The shift from physical to online networking has made it challenging to close sales. The sales process is taking longer to navigate from approaching to negotiating to closing.

The six pillars of influence description of scarcity will help here. Buyers are more likely to act when a sense of urgency is combined with a call-to-action. This isn’t permission to lie to buyers, rather to help understand their pain points and give specific instructions for the solution.

For example, for a decorator, it could be “Take the hassle out of decorating your home, book a virtual tour to get an all-included quote from me today.”

“My networking material is no longer relevant, what do I do now?”

Business cards, leaflets and flyers might be collecting dust, but rollup banners can still be useful. I remember walking into a meeting room, already to small for the amount of members, and cluttered with other promotional material trying to find a place in the corner for my banner.

Being online has changed that, now I can easily place my banner behind me knowing that during my elevator pitch and additional 1-2-1 meetings all eyes will be focused on my banner highlighting my business and driving my sales message. 

If you haven’t got a roll up banner, consider using the inbuilt technology that webinar and networking software such as zoom provides by allowing you to change the background to anything you choose.

There’s so much at your finger tips

We’re all going through a strange time, just as we get our heads around going into lockdown and adapting our businesses accordingly, we’re now having to navigate our way out of it and into a new way of working.

Let’s be honest we’re not going to be able to go back to the way things were.

One of those changes, for me, was moving my training from the classroom to online and it’s been daunting, but I’ve got there.

I also believe that the quality of my online training gets as close as it can too that of the classroom.

I challenge you to do the same and use what I’ve built to learn and take your business to not just the next level, but a new level and way of selling.

The Accelerator Programme

The benefits, well, it’s affordable at only £47, you manage the learning at your own pace, you keep the content for a lifetime and can reuse it and your business needs change.

Sign up here for the Accelerator Online Sales Training Programme

In closing this weeks article I ask when you consider your sales training that you consider me.

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