Kelso Consulting often hold seminars and webinars for clients and other friends of the firm with business winning specialist Chris Matthews.
Our recent presentation on successful business networking featured many great tips of particular relevance for management consultants.
To be honest, Chris was quite caustic about management consultants.
He said that they like to spend time targeting a small number of key individuals ... and by the time they have got anywhere with them, they have changed roles or moved firms and all that work is for nothing.
I had to smile at this part: I have often heard consultants talk about their "rifle shot approach" to selling.
Chris's advice was to be more like a trawler than an angler - go as a pack with your colleagues to where the fish are, and do your fishing on an industrial scale.
Some particularly useful tips for creating sales from networking included:
· The best networking events are the ones you organise yourself (such as debates, seminars and discussions) - not only will it mean that your competitors are excluded, you can invite the people you really want to meet.
· Networking is not about selling...Don't even think about selling (or you start acting like a sales person)
· You have to be prepared to be valuable to your contact. What information or introductions can you share with them to move the relationship on?
· Where to start? Your current clients, previous clients, intermediaries, failed business pitches and colleagues. The people that you don't know are the hardest, so why start there?
· Be authentic - be the best version of you that you can be (but don't fake it, such as using awful salesy introductions, or people will see through it).
· Know your firm and the details to questions that you are likely to be asked (e.g. number of offices etc) - it is amazing how many people when asked, don't immediately know key details about their own firm.
· A good LinkedIn profile is essential (after all, most people will look at it afterwards if they are interested in following up. A poor one hardly conveys a great impression)
· The purpose of the first meeting is to get 'permission' for a second meeting. It is not to sell - people won't go from the first meeting to giving you lots of work straight away. You need to meet them a second time and that is your objective for the first meeting.
· Great questions to ask to get people talking are:
o 'What is a typical day for you?'
o 'What sort of things do you do for clients?'
o 'What are clients asking for at the moment?'
o 'What is a typical client for you?'
· The follow up is where the magic happens. But don't be too greedy by immediately pushing for a sale.
· When attending networking events hunt in packs to enable someone to engage the prospect while others intercept the competition.
The full event had much more detail on these and lots of other advice of particular use for management consultants on networking.
We'll be running the networking seminar again in the near future - click below to get details