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Why not use your network?

Be there; be present, by Frédérik Barbieux
Cliquer ici pour la version française

For several years now, the social networks are presented like the remedy, the panacea to get in touch with our future clients (or future employers). How to really increase our turnover using our social networks?

In “social network” you have the word “network”. And everyone respects two immutable rules:
1. We do not sell to our network.
2. We preferably buy within our network.

So, it is in our best interest to develop our presence with the members of our network. It will then be up to them to use our services when they have the need.

Key conditionsWhat we can develop?
1. They must trust usThe quality of our interactions
2. They must think of us at the right momentThe frequency of our interactions

Here are two examples of a successful use of a network, which focused on the second condition.

How are you doing?

A senior salesman, working in a consulting firm, known as an excellent seller since he first started 10 years ago, introduced to me his main technic as follow: “in my job, I spend my time getting in touch with my friends and asking them how they were doing. I love it”. We can distinguish two main points in his way of keeping his network alive.

First of all, he has more than 200 persons in his address book who might potentially be interested in his services. He uses his participation in fairs, conferences and other places where you exchange professionally to continuously enrich his database.

Then, he calls each of these people systematically at least once every two months. What is the raison of his call? To hear their news, to know their current events. And that is all. Out of 200 calls, one or the other of his interlocutors always ends up by telling him basically: “It’s a good thing you’ve phoned me as I have a need and I’m sure you will be able to help me…”

The strength of his method lies in the fact that the contacts are frequent enough with enough people so that the salesperson is, at least in 0,5% of the cases, there at the right time. Note that he never tries to force a sale during these HAYD (How Are You Doing?) calls. He phones mainly to get some news. If that wasn’t the case, he would take the risk to lose his interlocutors’ trust.

Let them do it!

A clothing store manager noticed that after regular contacts with one of his suppliers, for example an electrician, he would often become a customer. Even better, the latter would generate in average 2 to 3 new customers amongst his friends to whom he would have recommended the store.

The average annual shopping cart per customer is €300. So, each “electrician” (and his 3 friends) can generate a turnover of €1,200 per year, without there being any sales or marketing action. You only need to interact with sufficient frequency.

The manager then asks each of his 6 employees to identify 20 people in their circle of influence – client, supplier, member of the same sports club…

Instructions: develop, regularly and systematically, the quality of their interactions with these 120 (6 x 20) privileged contacts, as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Send invitations for events organised in the shop, text or email for their birthdays, a warm personalised welcome into the shop, and a great big franc hello if they meet in the street… The real sellers here are certainly those 120 privileged contacts chosen by the employees.

3 months later, after this project started, one third has already recommended to come into the shop to at least one person. Note that this is done without any sponsorship programme, so with no acquisition cost. The goal is that in one year, 240 new customers are attracted, meaning a potential annual turnover increase of €72,000.

Yes, we can!

If the best way to be heard is to listen to the others, to be visible within your network don’t phone to give your news, phone to get news from your contacts. Do not try to initiate the sale, let the others do it.

I recommend you set up your own approach following 4 steps:

1 Draw a list of people to contact in priority, who can act as leverage for you, depending on your projects.
Choose enough of them.

2 Measure what you know about these people and the frequency of your interactions with each one of them.
(What are his or her interests? When is his or her birthday? How often do you meet? …)

3 Define a plan to develop the frequency and the quality of your interactions.
4 “Just do it!”.
Follow your plan. Systematically.

Today, social marketing uses already the principles implemented in both our examples, such as the KLT factor. Each of us can apply them at our level, within our own network and get direct and fast results.

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