ColumboThere’s something stunningly crass about asking for referrals before you’ve even delivered the most basic service to a new customer. And yet so many people do it.

Known as ‘The Columbo Close’ after the TV detective who would be on his way out of the door, before turning around and, with his immortal words, delivering the knockout blow that would unmask the villain of the piece. In the sales world, the villain of the piece is the salesman who finishes off his sales pitch by asking ‘one more thing’. [click to continue…]

Your ideal referral

by Andy Lopata on May 10, 2013 · 0 comments

Networking GroupIn a previous blog, I talked about how to help people understand what you do in order to help you more effectively; making it easy for them to do so rather than antagonising them. 

Once your network understand what you want them to say about you, you then need to focus on who you want them to share your message with. If, for example, you are looking for contacts in the public sector, there is little advantage to be gained if your message is being shared with small start-up companies.  [click to continue…]

Eat your own dog food!

by Richard White on April 2, 2013 · 0 comments

Dog CookiesI recently overheard someone at a business networking event use the expression “Eat your own dog food!”

It was a curious expression and I had not heard it before so I looked it up on Wikipedia and it appears it is quite a widely used expression in certain circles. Its origin is a little uncertain but it is a more colourful way of saying “practice what you preach”.

The person I overheard was talking to a marketing expert whom I know is struggling to find clients. One look at the appearance of the marketing expert would tell you that he knew nothing about personal branding. After a few sentences you would realise he knew nothing about marketing communications. His business card was one of those flimsy ones that you get for free off the internet. Get the picture?

Would you hire a disorganised Virtual Assistant to help you get organised? Would you entrust your IT support to a company that never answers the telephone and always lets it go to voicemail? Would you engage a web designer with an awful website full of broken links?

As a sales consultant and author of a book on business networking, I am always aware that my expertise is being judged by the way I network and sell as much as what I say.

Credibility is the currency of business networking and a critical factor in sales. Without credibility we are unlikely to get many referrals and we will really struggle to close the sale.

In these challenging economic times we need to ensure we have all the bases covered. One of those bases is eating our own dog food!

Richard White
Richard White is a sales coach and trainer. He specialises in helping IT consultants win more sales through effective networking. Richard is the author of ‘The Accidental Salesman Networking Survival Guide’ and is a highly sought after speaker on the subjects of networking and soft selling.

Desperate for business?

by Charlie Lawson on January 28, 2013 · 0 comments

Construction DealI heard a fascinating story the other day.  At a dinner party, I met a friend of a friend who ran a decorating business.  His frustration was obvious as he was enduring a slow start to 2013 – the phone had just stopped ringing.

I asked him what he was doing to promote his business – he’d printed several thousand leaflets and dropped them through letterboxes all around his local area.

I asked him how many calls he’d received – from all that effort, he’d received just one call to quote!  However, as it happened, that one call had been for what would be a very good job – repainting an entire 5 bedroom house.   [click to continue…]

Think before you Like. The cost of British business getting social media wrong

September 7, 2012

With the latest research confirming SMEs are jeopardising opportunities to make much needed sales through social media, many are still hopeful to use it as a medium of choice – where are we going wrong?  Everybody is telling everyone else how to use social media. We all know we need a presence, we have aspirations to solicit new business, raise our profiles, desire to network and want our share of voice on Google. But still, too many of us are getting it wrong.  Too many businesses are missing sales as a result of this misuse.  Having surveyed1000 SMEs around the [...]

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The ABCs of Referral Marketing – F is for ……….follow up!

August 31, 2012

So you’ve been to a networking event you’ve met some great contacts, you have got lots of business cards, you had some fantastic conversations. What now? Are you sitting in the office the next day just waiting for that phone to ring, the inbox to fill up, and people to call you with orders? I hope not because you may be disappointed. Networking is about building relationships with people, and a critical element is reconnecting with people in an appropriate way, a lot depends on the quality of the follow up.

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Has Face-to-Face Networking had its day?

August 16, 2012

I was out for a drink with an old school friend on the weekend, and he asked me a question.  ‘You know that “networking” thing you do – isn’t that becoming more and more irrelevant given the rise and rise of social media?’ 

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The lawyer who refused to specialise

July 2, 2012

A while back I met a lawyer at a networking meeting. No surprise there! Networking is an important method of lead generation for lawyers. I was chatting to this particular lawyer and I asked him if he specialised in any particular aspect of law. He said that he was an expert in property law and went on to explain the potential problems that people can get into with property related contracts. I asked him why he did not mention that when we first started talking and he replied that he didn’t because he could also do other types of law [...]

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