I had the pleasure of presenting a mini-seminar to a distinguished group of dealers at the annual First Alert Professional Dealer Regional Meeting in San Diego. The session was titled, “Always Be Networking” (or ABN), and it has inspired me to share this important topic with you this month.
As salespeople and owners of our companies, we usually concentrate on the slogan, “Always Be Closing” (or ABC). I have found that if our sales numbers were low or our sales pipelines were running dry — it was due to lack of networking. How many of you have experienced the “I did not know your company could do that!” response — even from those who have been a client for years? Go on; hold your hands up high because I know most of you have had this happen!
As you walked away from the client, somewhat vexed and maybe even a little embarrassed about the whole situation, you decided then and there to make some changes. The changes would include several ways to make sure the client was given the opportunity in the future to know more about what your company offers. It is not an easy solution as there are a lot of variables.
My definition of networking is probably a subset of marketing. It is to tell current as well as potential clients what we do, how we do it and, most importantly, why we do it. My purpose for practicing the ABN mantra is to increase my connections so as to grow my business through increased sales opportunities.
No matter what I do with my limited budget and resources, I will need help. The more connections I make through ABN activities, the more opportunities I will have to grow my business. I utilize the 3 C’s of Sales to support my ABN philosophy:
Connected — I want to be connected to those people who can help me. First line is the company attorney, insurance agent, CPA and banker. Second, my dealer contacts across the country who are willing to share “best practices.” On the home front, the AHJs, client services organizations, committees and boards that we serve are a huge benefit to the ABN philosophy.
Connecting — I always want us to be growing our connections, looking for opportunities to serve. Each connection grows an advocate. I believe the gift of giving is something that always comes back to benefit us.
Connection — I always want to facilitate an opportunity to help someone else to expand and grow their connections.
Why do I do this? People actually do ask me that question. I often answer with a flippant response such as, “Well, it is all about me, of course!” I do recognize it could be about ego, of which I have no shortage. But I do believe it is one of the smartest things that we can do. I want to be a contributor to the organizations, boards and committees on which I serve. The client service organizations in which I am a member serve a greater local and worldwide purpose. I am not only creating a chance to become their security provider (which grows my business), but it also makes me feel good about my contributions, both in time and material.
I challenge you to develop your own ABN plan and philosophy. I will leave you with this final thought: Networking is our way of showing how much we care about the people in our communities. How can we know which products and services to provide unless we are interacting with the community we serve?
Mike Miller is President of Moon Security Services, and Past President of ESA.