Networking In the New Normal

“How do we know who to talk to if we only see everyone on the other side in little bitty squares?” With customers’ offices closing and the remaining staff tele-commuting, the old school VP of Sales is probably reluctant to embrace Zoom. However, his reluctance is moot. An aggressive, young sales rep raised with a tablet in his crib is in the process of setting new quarterly sales records for the firm regardless of his title. His primary weapon is a well-connected mastermind group and technological tools that quickly access intelligence on his targets. Furthermore, his instantaneous access to industry white papers and anecdotal niche intelligence super-sizes his expertise. The C-Suite can hardly wait to see how his first year’s final quarter ends to see how close he gets to the firm’s sales record.

In the New Normal, knowing your organization’s business remains important. However, knowing your target markets’ business is more important. In a business world where solving problems surpasses pushing product in generating revenue, superior results depends on understanding the client’s deepest fears and desires. Providing cost-effective solutions barely register a blip in a world where making a customer’s pain go away has much more value. Sales victory results from knowing exactly what is causing pain and packaging the available solution to remedy it efficiently. Specific, client-centric intelligence wins.

While guessing the source of pain still works occasionally. Having relationships and resources to reveal pain points is much better. The New Normal rewards acquiring accurate information about target markets and their business processes. People skills no longer requires persuading buyers. Successful sales skills depend on establishing business relationships in advance through common experiences. Such experiences feature virtual conferences where up-to-the-moment problems are discussed. Then, joining breakout sessions where deep-seated fears are discussed; all from a laptop . The winning sales professionals earns credibility by interpreting pain points as virtual peers socialize them. And, when the sales professional cannot be in that room, then a trusted colleague acquires the key intelligence on her behalf.

Tools and talent have always been essential to locating fertile opportunities. Remember when answering machines were the new normal? Or, when a seasoned secretary could never be replaced? Then, technology became integrated into the high-speed world of locating clients with needs. Adapt, if you want success! How about the customer? What about new prospects? Communicate with them offering knowledge and solutions such that no other source is viable nor reasonable. Great communication is focused narrowly on the other person. Ultimately, success results are too. Hence, they are called “targets”. Likewise, marketing messages that turn into sales results focus on… the client!

In the New Normal intelligence is not only available via phone. Industry reports and analysts’ newsletters no longer dominate providing necessary information to grow sales. Now, blogs and Reddit offer bleeding edge insight. Industry intelligence, needs, and opportunities surface at unprecedented speed. The sales pro, who is comfortable with anonymous sources that have proven to be accurate in interpreting the marketplace, now has the advantage. Having an alleged insider has become less important, especially when compared to accessing credible and proven market analysis. With so much information circulating, analytical credibility has increased value. Ultimately, collaborating with peers, colleagues, and frenemies facilitate connections that credibly vet information.

The new sales success secret is accuracy and credibility concerning intelligence. Established think tanks no longer have a chokehold on industry analysis. Intelligence, insight and relationships now go with the individual. To keep up with their insight, success requires actively engaging them on LinkedIn, personal blogs and online roundtables. The investment pays off exponentially better than when the last generation flew to Las Vegas for their favorite bi-annual conference. Identifying sources of superior intelligence now means subscribing, interacting and engaging. Find trustworthy online sources even if it means paying the right source for Zoom access to keep an edge. Otherwise, continue waiting for the quarterly industry report to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile, pay more attention to your quarterly retirement statement when it arrives in the mail. You will need it sooner than you realize.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

About Hunter & Beyond, LLC

Glenn W Hunter presents his proven perspectives on business growth. He shares skills and tactics resulting in increasing sales for organizations ranging from start-ups to large corporations. His expertise focuses on storytelling, branding and networking to cultivate relationships that lead to increased revenue.
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