Stop Wasting Time Networking

June 9, 2011 20 comments

If you ever feel like you’ve wasted time networking, the blog is for you.

As part of my former role as the President of Rainmakers Marketing Group, I taught a semi-monthly seminar called Creating a Word of Mouth Marketing Machine.  At the beginning of the seminar, I ask “what roadblocks are holding you back from creating success in relationship marketing?”

Every session, somebody says “managing my networking time!”

So, here it is, 6 keys on how to stop wasting time while networking.

1. Do your initial one-on-one’s over the phone - It takes you 30-minutes to leave your office and drive to Panera, and then another 30-minutes to drive back and get resituated to work.  If you aren’t certain that the person you’re meeting with is going to make you money, have your initial meeting over the phone.  You can have 3 times as many meetings, and are guaranteed to spend your quality face-time with relationships that generate revenue.

2. Set an agenda for your meeting - I love hearing about your kids, dogs, and recent trip to Idaho, but what I really care about during an initial one-on-one is whether or not we share the same target market, are part of the same life/business event, are part of the same client conversation, have a similar sales cycle, and are best of breed.  Those are the primary items that will make a good strategic relationship.  Second to that is us getting along as networking buddies.  Let’s save all of the relationship building personal stuff for our future or social meetings, because frankly, I don’t even know if we’ll see each other again.

3.  Only meet with strategic relationships - Have you ever finished a one-on-one and thought, “what a waste of time”, or “if one more person tries to sell me Agel…”  If you want to eliminate those thoughts, only do one-on-ones with people who see the same clients that you do.  In other words, only meet with potential strategic partners, becuase they’re the ones who will make you money.  PS – only attending networking events that are chocked full of your potential strategic partners also falls in line with this suggestion as well.  I bet that will save you 30-50% on your one-on-one time right there.

4.  Use customer relationship marketing software (CRM) - Using a CRM system like AddressTwo or SalesForce will save you a ton of follow up time. Both of these systems allow you to set automatic reminders of when you need to follow up with someone, connect to social media, and can send an email from inside of the software.  If you’re using an excel spreadsheet or Outlook to store your contact database, trash it, grow up, and get a CRM like a big boy business owner, so you can save some time.

5.  Block time to network - Networking takes time – especially if you’re good at it.  Take a moment at the end of every week to block out time in the next week for networking events, one-on-ones (and ONLY schedule the one-on-ones during your blocked times), data entry, and follow up (aka building bridges).  When I was generating $200k a year in revenue for a small business through relationship marketing, over 60% of my time was spent on networking activities.

6.  Just say no - If you’re asked to be on a referral team or do a one-on-one that isn’t a strategic fit, just say no.  Tell them the reason is becuase you’re, “making a concerted effort to only meet with people who see the same client I do”.  If the person requesting your time is a really good fit, they’ll fight for your time.  If not, they’ll back down, and you can instantly introduce them to someone who will be a good strategic fit.

 

 

 

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Keys to Winning Resumes

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Your resume can make or break your first impression during a job hunt.

We’ve outlined the best (and the worst) of what to expect when crafting a strong resume:

- Make a Resume Stand Out – Document quantitative results in your bullet points. I’m not concerned that you did something, I’m concerned about how well you did it. Here are some examples, “led a team of 58 engineering professionals,” “increased sales 210% in a year,” “managed the operations of a $4.8M business.”

- Ditch the Cover Letter – Cover letters are worthless for recruiters, and almost just as worthless for internal hiring managers. Use the time that you would spend on your cover letter creating a 100% complete LinkedIn profile, and a blog that highlights your subject matter expertise. If you do decide to write a cover letter, make sure it is 100% customized to the position that you’re applying for.

- Stop Spraying and Hoping – Only apply for jobs that are a specific fit to your experience, skill set, and relationships. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s by applying for positions that aren’t a fit. You won’t be called.

- Keep it Simple Silly – Resumes over 2-pages long immediately go into the trash.

- Beware of Naming Conventions – Resume’s titled with the file name “Resume” are annoying to recruiters who are trying to save your resume for a future call back. Use your name and skills as a file name instead.

The mores of what is and is not effective in resume writing and distribution are changing. Using the tips above will keep you out of hot water, and will get your resume in the hands of those who can hire you.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast. To learn more, click here.

Categories: Job Hunt

Generate Leads Through Community Service

September 27, 2013 2 comments

Think that community service during work hours is a waste of time?

Far from it!

Building relationships with other professionals who are concerned about a common cause can be one of the best ways to create connections that lead to referrals.

The reason most managers think that volunteering and association engagements are a waste of time is because they don’t have a strategy surrounding how to generate leads through community service.

Well, here’s how to do it:

1.  Identify Your Passion - What angers you or gets you excited?  What would you do every day for the rest of your life even if you weren’t paid to do it?  Find out what really gets you going, and then find an organization or association that supports that cause.  Examples could include homelessness, cancer, abuse, animals, politics, children – the list is endless.

2.  Call Development Directors – These folks like two things; volunteers and money, because one usually leads to the other.  Call the person at your organization of choice who is in charge of raising money.  Let them know that you would like to get engaged with the organization in a volunteer leadership capacity.  It makes no business sense to just show up and plant a tree.  As a professional using cause-based relationship marketing, you need to work with the people making decisions.  Volunteer at a high level.  The board of governors typically has committees that are open for non-board member service.  This is a good place to start.

3.  Show Up – We’re not in high school anymore, and you’re not looking for a resume builder.  If you join a board just so you can add another line to your resume, you’re not going to generate a lick of leads.  Get involved and actually show up, speak up, and make a change.

4.  Do One-on-Ones with Interesting People – This is NOT the time to sell yourself.  Cause-based relationship marketing is six-degrees of separation networking at its best.  Have coffee with the people you’re volunteering with, get to know them, their work, their ideal clients, and primary strategic partners.  Work to introduce them to people in your network who can bring them business, and guess what – they will do the same thing for you.

Generating referrals from service in community and professional organizations takes time, but it can be worthwhile, profitable, and fun.

Tell us about some successes you have had generating business through non-profit service.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Categories: Sales

No More Commission Only Jobs!

September 20, 2013 3 comments

I have a theory; no Inone wants commission only jobs.

In this day and age, if someone is going to work on commission only, they would start their own company, hold all of the equity, and keep all of the profits.

I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer job candidates (even recent college grads) are interested in working without a salary.  Here are some of my theories as to why:

- The Economy – Yes, I said it.  Even though the strongest small business entrepreneurs ignore the “Economy hoopla”, the reality is that the post-2008 business environment has made everyone a bit skiddish about taking risks.  Yes, there are still people out there who have guts and will take a risk, but the majority of sales talent on the market are taking moves to protect themselves.

- Twenty-First Century Selling is Relationship Selling – Relationship selling takes time; time that I don’t have when I need to make a sale YESTERDAY in order to feed my family.  For most industries, relationship selling is the right strategy.  Our compensation plans should reflect how business is now being done.

-  You’re Getting What You Paid For… Nothing for Nothing – If you want a commission only sales person, that’s cool.  Just make sure your business model fits.  You need a short sales cycle (single call to 1-month), a low value average price, and a low cost of engagement (the customer doesn’t have to change much in order to begin using your product).  If your company, product, client, or sales cycle are the opposite of any of these, you’re probably going to have to cough up some cash and pay a salary, draw, or guarantee base.

Times have changed, and with it so have expectations about sales compensation.

What have you observed about sales compensation expectations when interviewing candidates?

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Categories: Recruiting

5 Ways to Ruin Your Newly Hired Salesperson

September 13, 2013 2 comments

If you’re honest with yourself, you know that a portion of the responsibility of the success of your salespeople rests with you as the sales manager or business owner.

If you’re REALLY honest with yourself, then you know that a portion of the responsibility of the failure of your salespeople ALSO rests with you.

Here are 4 keys to ensuring that your salespeople will fail within the first 3 months of hiring them:

1. Withhold Resources – I don’t know where business owners got the idea that their employees are out to get them, but that’s not entirely true.  Now yes, all of your employees will lie to you, and you’ll get a few troublemakers over the years who will try to take advantage of you.  But, the new salesperson you just hired wants to succeed an make MONEY.  As a result, there is no reason why you should withhold anything that would help them bring more revenue to the table.  Pay for their mileage.  Pay for their meals and professional memberships (with approval and with a spending limit).  Give them a computer and/or a tablet.  Create marketing pieces that accurately reflect your brand.  Give them everything they need to CRUSH IT in the marketplace.

2.  Don’t Track their Activity – During the first three months, a salespersons worth is tied to their activity.  If you’re not tracking networking events, strategic meetings, lead generation, client meetings, proposal creation, and sales closed, you’re failing your salesperson royally.  Cover these details with them once a week.  We recommend Mondays or Fridays.

3.  Don’t Review Their Pipeline – Once a week, you should review the status of each lead that your sales person has come in contact with.  When was their last touch?  What and when is their next touch?  What do they need from you in order to close the sale?  When do they expect to close the sale?  Be a tyrant about your salesperson’s pipeline.  This is how you show them you care.

4.  Don’t Pay Them – Withholding money from a salesperson is like stealing milk from a baby – sick and wrong.  Pay your sales person quickly, early, and make mistakes on the side of overpaying them.  If you want to immediately un-motivate your sales team, don’t pay them.

5.  Take Your Foot Off of the Gas – You have to set the pace in your business.  If you think that you can now take 3 vacation days per week because you have a new superstar salesperson, you’re wrong.  Set contests with your new hire and compare your results.  You are the leader.  Don’t you forget it.

Supporting a top performing salesperson is easy if you don’t do the things I mentioned above.

Accountable, paid, resource rich salespeople thrive in the market – and, so will your business.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Categories: Leadership, Sales

I Don’t Like My Job – What do I Do?

September 6, 2013 Leave a comment

In a made up statistic, 90% of employees don’t like their jobs.

It’s okay if you don’t like yours – but, it’s not okay to do nothing about it.

You don’t have to quit today, but be encouraged to take some steps to get in line with what will make you, your family, and your employer happier.

This is what the doctor ordered:

  1. List what truly bothers you about your job.  You may feel overwhelmed now, but creating a short list will help you define the problem, and come up with a solution to overcome it.
  2. Identify the traits of your perfect job.  Where is it?  What are you doing?  What is the culture like?  What are the people like?  How much of money are you making?  The more specific you get, the more likely it is that you’ll find the right role.
  3. Talk with your supervisor – Many times, a short chat with your supervisor about your job satisfaction can lead to changes that end up benefitting you and the organization.
  4. Network your way to a new job – Quietly start a job search by asking your most “connected” friends if they know of any opportunities that fit the description of your ideal job.

Your life works best when you are spending the majority of your working hours doing something that you enjoy, your skills and expertise support, and fits your purpose.

Find a way to do that job today!

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Categories: Job Hunt

How to Approach Your First Networking Event

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

corporate-functions1If you haven’t done much of it, networking can be downright scary.

I have identified the top 5 guideposts that will help make your next networking experience a breeze:

 

  1. Begin with the End in Mind – Know exactly how many contacts you would like to make by the end of the event.  In an open networking setting, 5-7 new business cards is an acceptable start.
  2. Think Strategically – If you go to an event expecting to find your next deal or job, you will fail.  Look for partners who target the same market that you do, grab their business card, and set a time to meet late to talk about trading leads.
  3. Speak in Benefit Statements – No one cares what you do; they’re only concerned about how you can help them or their clients.  When you speak in benefit statements, you immediately appeal to the “WIIFM” factor (what’s-in-it-for-me).  To define the benefit you bring to an organization, think about your target market/target decision makers most pressing problem, and how you solve it.
  4. Keep it Short – Ideal conversations at networking events are short.  Talk about your job, ideal client, ideal strategic partner, commit to making a connection for each other, and then go to the next person.  Your job in networking events is to find as many of the right relationships as you can quickly.
  5. Seek to Help First – The more you give the more you receive.  Figure out a way you can help each person you meet by giving them a good introduction to someone who can help them accomplish their goals.  When you do that, others will strive to help you as well.

 

See?  It’s easy, right?

After you have used these tips, come back and let me know how they worked for you!

 

 

Jamar Cobb-Dennard is a sales recruiting expert who helps companies find the right salesperson fast.  To learn more, click here.

Categories: Networking Tags:

4 Irrefutable Business Truths from a 20-Year Old

August 20, 2013 Leave a comment

With one week to go in my summer internship at Hire Sales, I felt it was due time for some reflection on my experiences from the past few months. Today, I came across an article on Forbes.com titled 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get, detailing some ideas that young business people fail to understand.

While reading this list, I realized just how many of these things I have learned this summer.  Four specific points caught my eye:

 

You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated

 Once I start a job, my college GPA and extra curricular activities no longer matter. I could have all the smarts and talents in the world, but if I do not work to refine and improve them, they are useless.

Pick Up the Phone 

I was completely unaware how much I hated making phone calls until I was forced to make 100 a week. That may just be a product of the text and tweet generation, but I have now realize how important actually talking with people can be.

Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter

 New jobs and opportunities are often filled through networks and referrals. As you meet and connect with more and more people, business opportunities will steadily increase.

Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do 

Guidelines are important, but depending on someone else to tell you how to do your job will lead to disappointment and zero growth.

 

Looking at this list, what piece of advice do you wish you had known when you were 20 years old?

 

 

Slater Steins is a sports fanatic, IU student, and Associate Account Manager at Hire Sales.  More about recruiting the right sales person fast, here.

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