"It is not how much you know, it is who you know," this has been the mantra of many great people I know from different walks of life and from different industries in the market place. And to get to know more people, here are the 3 pieces of advice that I always get from books, seminars, blog posts, and friends:
1. ESTABLISH TRUST
It is always a top-of-mind thought to buy from our "suking tindahan", or get a haircut from our favorite barber or hairdresser. I always reschedule my haircut if my favorite barber isn’t available. It’s difficult to trust someone when you are unsure of the outcome. In sales, most of the the seasoned salespersons that are well entrenched to their customers have become unofficial outsourced procurement providers. Because of the established trust, and of course great service, the corporate buyer's top of mind during acquisitions is their trusted vendor salesman. He knows everyone inside, from the CEO to the janitor and security staff. He has also established good relationships to key positions.
2. stop cold calling
Aaron Ross has discussed why cold calling is ineffective in his book, Predictive Revenue. Because buyers are sick of being sold to, they become more resistant to classic sales and marketing methods such as pushy cold calls or generic marketing materials. Ross suggests that salespersons should research first rather than sell because the intention is different. Rather than trying to get the decision maker on the phone, the seller should learns more about the prospective client. From there, the seller will be able to tell if the company is fit or not. Last on Ross’ outline on the inefficacy of cold calling is that one should avoid sending long sales emails because truth be told, no one reads them. It is better to send shorter emails that are honest and straight to the point.
3. BE KNOWN, GO OUT THERE AND NETWORK!
"Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself," read a post on my Facebook timeline. My life insurance agent once told me, for him to be visible and a familiar face, he always attends birthday parties, weddings, christenings or child dedications and most of all, wakes. Adding to his tips in generating contacts, it is always good to join business and civic organizations such as the Rotary, Lion's Club, bike or running clubs, NGO's and or other religious or environmental groups. Some of the Big Deals I personally closed are referrals from friends, and business transactions from clients. Moreover I made sure that I was able to establish mutual trust and good relationships with them, beyond business.
Investing should not only be about the material and monetary possessions. You should also invest on people and good relationships. Real estate investors sum it up best— "You make money when you buy or invest, not when you sell."