Fish Where the Fish Are

This isn’t a hard concept, its common sense actually.  However, it is also paired with hard work and long hours, therefore, many ignore doing this.  Instead, they would rather bang out 100 cold calls and get nowhere… or, worse yet, they may spend half the day researching leads only to make a call and get shut down.  They do this because it is simply the activity that fits into their scheduled work hours.

Yes, you have to make cold calls, and I even wrote a piece about why cold calls will never die (read it here), but that’s not my point.  My point is that there is a menu of being successful and often times you need to be doing everything possible to achieve your ultimate goal.

Whatever your ultimate goals are you can put yourself in a situation to succeed by working longer and harder (that’s a given) but also by working smarter to maximize your time.

Here is an off beat example.  When someone is on the dating scene, they find a spot where the type of person who they want to meet hangs out. Make sense?  Want to meet a banker when you live in New York?  You’re going to hit up a spot close to Wall Street.  It’s a no-brainer.  However, we rarely think like this in sales.

In sales we might be smart enough to research leads, but that is often to simply make a call and get shut down.  Rarely do we research where our buyers hang out or what networks they’re involved in and this is a big mistake.  There are three (3) easy ways to find this out and three (3) more difficult ways to do this.  Read below.

Find out what social and fraternal clubs your clients belong to – You already have some customers (hopefully) and wherever they hang out, there is a good chance that others like them hang out. Now, I know that we can’t all be members of the exclusive country club in town, but that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about.  Often times there are other social clubs that you can be involved with.  In Charlotte, there are clubs such as the City Club or Belle Acres where the dues are low but the clients are networked. You can get into these clubs by being invited in…and who better to invite you in than one of your customers.  You’ll already have a living testimonial in the club!  There are also Rotary Clubs, Toastmasters, Moose Loges, etc etc.  Find what is available and join them all.

Find out what networking groups your clients belong to – There is a difference between a social club and a networking club.  They both may satisfy the goal of meeting people, but a networking group has the goal of doing such.  I’m assuming that your clients have a job and that often entails belonging to certain networking groups.  These are a bit trickier so if a current customer can vouch for one, it generally takes some work off of your plate.  Charlotte has organizations such as the Business Leaders of Charlotte (BLOC), Speed Networking,

Find out what charitable organizations your clients participate in – If I believe in a cause, I participate.  So, before I go into the next point I want to say that you shouldn’t join a charitable organization to make money for yourself because that’s not what they’re about.  However, if you believe in the cause and can spare the time or financial means to support the cause then you should get involved and more than likely meet a few influential people.

The three (3) above points can all be done by asking simple questions to people who already buy from you.  I must warn you though, the next three (3) points aren’t as easy and may take more work (yes I said it) and a little bit of ingenuity.

Locate target specific trade shows and events – If you are selling to CFO’s then you need to find an event targeted toward that type of position.  Each city has numerous events that are designed to lure a certain type of position.

Research to see where your prospects are speaking – If you’re chasing a big prospect there is a good chance that he may be speaking somewhere.  If that’s the case, you better get a ticket to that event and ensure that you introduce yourself.  Be warned, there will be competition in the room trying to get in front of that same prospect…but there will also be others who can buy from you in the room as well.  Work all angles.

Simply join random groups to see what works – Don’t have any clients yet? Maybe you have clients who aren’t interested in or don’t have a need to do anything other than work? Then you simply need to go to Chamber Meetings, Rotary Group Meetings, and other random networking events to see which ones are worthwhile.  This takes patience, due diligence, and the ability to work a room.  If you don’t have those abilities, go to the easier steps.

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