“Working in sales, you can’t sit and wait for the phone to ring anymore. We live in a VUCA world, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This means that we are also operating at a more complex market. Long-term relationships with your clients are crucial”, this was the opening statement by Emma Troedsson at the Ideon Marketing and Sales network. The theme was how you can build a network in an intelligent way to boost your sales.
“It’s hard to keep up with the needs and the wants of your customers, even harder than before. This means that you really need to take your customer’s hand and understand what their needs and wants are. And how do you do that? You can do it in many ways, but the main way is by building a strong relationship. That’s the main tool that you have.”
Are networks undemocratic?
“Some people think that having a society based on networks might be undemocratic, like in the mafia where only some people get favours. But we must not forget how important networks are to your career. Your network is part of your competence. Just like your attitude, it is part of the package,” Emma comments. “The most successful people are the ones who have open networks, where you get different types of input.”
“To meet people equally is one of the hardest things in sales. Sometimes when I work with my clients, they say ‘I know, we’ll go to the customer and give a lecture’. I usually tell them that is the equivalent of saying ahead of a date ‘I can sleep at your place’. This way, you are making assumptions without understanding the client’s situation and it is so important to be present and open in the relationship, all the time”, Emma says.
The best connections and networks, according to Emma:
- Are built on trust
- There is a balance between the people, either in the economic situation or a balance in values, energy, focus or knowledge
- They develop over time
Emma’s best networking tips
Time is a scarce resource and networking and talking to clients takes time. So how can you do it in an efficient and creative way?
- Use the lunch, go out and meet people for lunch instead of scheduling a regular meeting.
- Meet up for a coffee (fika), networking is the key to the future success of your career. Spend more time on this instead of making your project more perfect.
- Talk to people around you at different venues, you never know who you’ll meet. This works best if you can start of as equals, find something that you both have in common or that you are interested in (like dogs) to start off the conversation.
- You don’t have to be in your job persona to mingle and network. The best sales pitches are usually made when you’re not prepared, as you are being yourself, talking about something you believe in.
- A great question to ask at a mingle is “what else is going on with you/your business?”. Be curious and find out what they are working on, it might lead up to a collaboration.
Build a long-term relationship with your clients
“We have a lot of misconceptions about how working in sales means being pushy and that calling a client means that you are disturbing them. When you call a client that you have done business with, you don’t call them to sell, you call them to ask about what’s going on. You show an interest in them and their situation. Otherwise, it is like going in a holiday with a friend, and then not call them for a year. If you’re closer to your shareholders than your customers – it is a dangerous path you have chosen. Build a relationship with your clients and take care of it,” Emma finishes her talk.
Join our next Marketing and Sales meeting
Do you want to improve your skills or your network in marketing and sales? Then join us for the next Ideon Marketing and Sales Network! Find the dates at ideon.se/events.
Do you want to find out more about what Emma Troedsson can do for your business? Check out her website at Sterner & Troedsson.