Things I've Learned About Networking to Sell a Service

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Things I've Learned About Networking to Sell a Service

I assume that this is going to be rather fluid list- changing over the coming months as I learn new nuances that I'd like to remember.

Selling a service is very different from selling a product.

Selling SEO consulting services (which I sell), for example, is quite a different process from selling a house or a hand bag.

I used to think that if I could be more of a hard closer like Grant Cardone, I would make more money. Now I realize that, because I sell SEO services, I want to be more like Dale Carnegie.

Here are some quick notes on networking with the goal of making more money selling services:

  • Sell by relationships.
    • Selling consulting services, even when clients have already signed, will always be continual. Even when clients have already signed, the consultant, in this case me, has to maintain good relationships so when its time for clients to resign, they do.
    • "Hard closing" with selling something like a car, for example, is different because it's a one time purchase.
    • Strong relationships create top of mind awareness within your niche of consulting.
      • In my case, when a contact hears a friend complaining about needing better SEO, I want that contact to immediately think of recommending me. "Oh, I know somebody who's very good at that!"
  • Don't try to directly meet check signers who need your services. Instead, try to meet people who will both give you referrals and be likely to work with people who need your services.
  • Learn who is actually most likely to give you referrals and then go to places where these people want to network.
    • In my case, it's web developer consultants/contractors, and digital agency owners.
      • In terms of where to go, tech meetups with some sort of lecture or talk appear to be providing good people for me.
  • Don't say what you do until the person you're talking to asks. You don't want to give off any hints of selling.
    • Not talking about yourself unless prompted to decreases the possibility of setting off red flags.
    • This also increases the likelihood of having an engaging, relationship-strengthening conversation.
  • Continuing off the above, make sure to listen and engage with what the person you've just met is saying. This is basic advice, but if you do this, you're less likely to set off red flags because, again, you're not talking about yourself.
  • Don't bounce around talking to many different people, trying to meet the most lucrative contact. Everybody knows somebody, especially if you're networking in the right places.
  • Be okay with spending most of your time talking to the first or second person you meet, even if you're unsure of that person providing you with business.
    • This makes networking more fun and long lasting.
    • This is easier than meeting a lot of people.
    • This makes networking less transactional and more win-win.
      • This makes networking more effective.
  • Get to a networking event early.
    • Early is the best time to make a connection.
    • People are most likely to want somebody to talk to early, before whatever the main event is (more boredom = easier time creating a relationship with a stranger).
  • If you're at a networking event in the evening, go to dinner afterwards with the person you spend most of your time with.
    • Doing multiple activities together strengthens connections.
  • Introduce contacts to one another within the coming months after meeting them. Try to reward people who know you with somebody who will either provide benefit or be of interest to them.
    • This strengthens reciprocity probabilities.
    • This strengthens your relationships with people and is a good way to strengthen multiple relationships while saving time.
  • Try to have at least 1/9th of the meals you eat out be with somebody else.
    • "Never eat alone" is a very widely overlooked sales mantra.
      • Eating with other people makes even more utility out of just eating and is a great way to strengthen/freshen relationships with old contacts.
    • "1/9th" is assuming you're eating out three times a day.
  • Even if you're not making much income, do not hesitate on spending money to eat out with somebody else.
    • As discussed above, ROI is huge on this activity.
    • A mindset of money as scarce and precious is likely to result in less income.

The ultimate objective of doing all this is creating an expansive web of solid relationships that will result in a consistent stream of referrals with little further lead generation.

Edward Sturm

Edward Sturm is an SEO and video and image producer.