Networking with prospects and even other sales professionals is vital to success when working in any kind of sales.
Most people deciding on a sales career are outgoing, intelligent, and creative problem-solvers who can adjust their strategies on a whim. You should implement these traits and skills when networking.
To network more effectively, consider some of the tips listed below.
1. Look for Internal Connections and Prospective Customers
As often as the goal of networking is to introduce yourself to prospects, don’t underestimate the benefits of connecting with others in sales. This could give you entry points into more prominent companies and, therefore, more significant prospects.
This is also important because the more extensive your network is, the higher the likelihood of connecting with the people you are most interested in targeting.
This also opens the door for mentorship opportunities. As someone who works in sales, you know how important it is to be looking to learn and grow consistently. Don’t cut yourself off from higher-ups; they may offer excellent advice to improve your bottom line.
2. Network on Your Terms
For some people, networking and connecting with strangers is natural. But for others, the challenge of engaging new people — whether prospects or other internal connections — can be nerve-wracking.
This is especially true when you enter significant events with nothing but business cards and, hopefully, some meaningful conversations.
You are not alone if you struggle with opening yourself up in these moments. Luckily, many digital platforms exist, so you ease into networking on your terms and, potentially, on your prospects’.
3. Utilize Social Media
Don’t be afraid to share your experiences on social media to build your network. 75 percent of sales pros use Facebook to find leads, 51 percent use Instagram, and 43 percent prefer LinkedIn.
Posts should be more about quality than quantity when posting on social media. You want to establish yourself as an expert in what you do. It will attract more significant leads and companies to your company, product, and yourself.
4. Low-Maintenance Referrals
When using sites like LinkedIn, look through connections you already have and expand that search to those within two connections you may want an introduction with.
It may not be practical to ask these connections, “Do you know anyone who would be interested in our company/products?”
Instead, use their network, research those who meet the criteria for your target audience, and ask if they would be willing to introduce you to specific individuals or if they have anyone they know at a specific company.
This relieves the pressure on them to do all the legwork.
Or, if you want to save yourself the work and get right to building rapport, identify prospects with AcuityMD. Our software comes with a database of prospects in your area so that your medical device sales funnel can move as smoothly as possible.
5. Set Goals When Networking
In the same way, you should establish sales goals and quotas; you should consider this when you are networking as well.
Establish a certain number of people you want to connect with or exchange information with. Perhaps you have a certain number of business cards you would like to pass out.
By entering a networking event with clear-cut goals, you are more likely to succeed as you have a direct mission and are less likely to be intimidated by the number of people at these significant events.
6. Be Prepared and Map Out a Strategy
In the same way, you should create goals for yourself when networking, you also want to be prepared to establish connections with individuals. To do this, be sure you have plenty of business cards and a one-to-two sentence ‘elevator pitch’ ready to describe your business or product.
You have likely needed to adjust strategies when pitching to specific prospects as each individual has individual needs. Continue this process into networking.
Each person you talk to will likely expect a different relationship with their salesperson, which can be difficult to judge at a first meeting. You want to listen more than you talk so that you have a better understanding of who you are attempting to connect with.
You can also use tools to identify prospects ahead of time so that you can pinpoint exactly what they’re looking for. This way, you’ll show up to the function ready to sell your medical devices.
7. Look for Events and Organizations That Your Target Audience Attends
It’s simple. You wouldn’t walk up to just anyone to talk about your product and expect a meeting or a potential sale. You want to find the activity hub within your market, which requires research.
Take note of organizations, fundraisers, conferences, and panels you may want to attend that will be widely attended by those you have already considered a lead.
If you find an organization you believe could help you make connections, there’s no need to sign up as a member immediately. As a visitor, go to a couple of events to determine if the membership price is worth it.
Be open to both scheduled and spontaneous networking events. In the same way, you are looking for a prospect that will answer “yes,” you want to respond “yes” to as many opportunities as possible.
8. Look at the RSVP or Guest List
There may be confidential, private, and intimate meetings or organizations you are privy to, but you have no way of knowing who is coming.
The best trick is if you can find an RSVP or guest list, research it. You will get a better idea of who you are looking to target.
If you do not know these individuals, try to connect with them on Linkedin.
Find names you already recognize, and once you can locate them at the event or conference, see if they are willing to introduce themselves.
In the same way, you should rely on referrals, you should take advantage of your connections to make even more.
9. Mingle at Events
If you do know someone attending the same event as you, it can be nice to greet and catch up with them but don’t hide in a corner with them all night long.
This negates the point of networking. Instead, be sure to reach out to new people.
If you are intimidated, welcome newcomers similar to you. They will be grateful for someone breaking the ice, and you may be able to create a strong bond that will benefit both of you in the future.
10. Establish a Rapport
When you are introduced to or meet someone, see if you can find common ground between you and the prospect. It’s a fact; no one likes to be sold to. Instead, offer something valuable.
People like to talk about shared interests. This can be books, movies, or athletics — no need to push your sales immediately. Instead, listen to what they say to generate interest and make the person feel important.
Connecting with a prospect on something other than their problems and your product’s solutions can create strong relationships, just like reaching out to newcomers like yourself can.
11. Following Up Is Critical
Once you have exchanged information, the connection is still in limbo. You want to follow up within 24 to 48 hours. This will keep your name and your company/product in the front of their mind, making it more likely that they will respond to you.
When you reach out, try to bring up something you talked about. This could be a challenge they relayed to you.
Consider beginning your interaction through email and offering the prospect studies or free resources to address their concerns or give them more information they may be interested in.
This helps build trust, and you are better situated to establish yourself as someone who is interested in helping them, not just selling. You want to become a trusted advisor rather than someone who only intends to push products onto them.
12. Be Authentic, Transparent, and Consistent
The best advice we can give you is that when attempting to network: be unafraid to be yourself, whoever that may be.
Before you enter an event, list three positive traits that highlight your strengths and prepare to show others these traits.
This could be your knowledge, intelligence, or a basic charisma that puts people at ease. By leaning into who you are, you can better create long-lasting relationships based on trust and understanding.
The Bottom Line
Networking is vitally important to the sales process. For many salespeople, networking is how they identify new prospects and engage with targets.
However, with AcuityMD, networking becomes much easier. Our platform can help you find prospects that match your target audience so that you can show up to your networking event primed and ready to start establishing relationships. Learn more to see if AcuityMD can help you in your medical device sales career.