by Autum Grimm, CRO & Co-Founder, PartnerTap
Top 5 Habits of a great Network Partner
The most successful salespeople network well with sales professionals from other companies. Reason being, working a warm lead that comes from a partner is way better than working a cold call. Since no one wants one-way relationships with their network partners I will share 5 great networking habits guaranteed to get you more leads from your network.
1. Start out of the gates bearing great information for your partner.
Don’t come with your hand out! As a top producing sales rep I had a lot of partners wanting to work with me. The most annoying thing to hear from a partner was,“You can bring me a lot of leads but I’m not going to bring you much of anything. If you bring me 3 referrals, I’ll put you in a drawing to win an apple watch, though.” To which I would think to myself, “Honestly, I don’t want your apple watch. I’m a top performer and I want to sell so I can go get everything else besides an apple watch.” Just a simple reminder that if you hear your partner can’t refer leads then it’s a red flag. Take heed and move on! On the other hand, if someone really wants to build a mutual partnership that’s the one you want to work with. It’s the golden rule of sales partnering: you have to give to get.
2. Get down to business and don’t waste your partner’s time.
If you want to build a good relationship with someone you need to show them that you are worth their attention. At first, you may not be able to bring them a true lead with a decision-maker who is ready to talk to them. But what you can share is intelligence on accounts in their territories. So figure out quickly what accounts you have in common and share information on those accounts specifically. Any information that helps your partner secure a meeting is like gold for them. Don’t feel like you aren’t bringing any value unless you have a decision maker introduction. Helping your partner to know what’s going on in their territory is the best result that can come from partnering and frankly is more common.
3. Treat your partner like your best prospect.
Because of the tremendous upside, partner networking should be your top priority. Consider this, in one prospect meeting you might get one sale and maybe some add-on sales. From a partner, however, you can get multiple sales because they are gateways into many prospects. Be religious about meeting regularly on a set schedule. Pick a plan of action and meet weekly, or monthly but whatever the time frame always arrive on time and come prepared. Your partner will treat you how they are treated so always keep it professional.
4. Find partners who have similar sales styles.
My best networking happened when I aligned with salespeople who had similar sales styles to me. I felt most comfortable referring these individuals into accounts because I could guarantee my client would have a similar experience. I knew they would take care of my prospects and clients and not ruin my reputation. Repeatable sales processes with partners eventually will work like a well-oiled machine. This benefits you and your customer.
5. Provide partners with great introductions to Decision Makers.
Refer warm leads directly into the C-Suite personally to your partner. Once you and your network partner have built trust you will see your best partners reciprocate everything you provide. They will provide warm introductions to the C-suite of their top clients the same way you did. Great networkers are always looking out for a way to introduce their client’s to their best partners.
It’s easy to spot a great partner, but equally important is rooting out bad partners. You never want to be stuck doing all the heavy lifting in a networking relationship. I remember getting a partner into 5 of his biggest deals of the year and he never reciprocated. You can imagine I quickly terminated that relationship and all those fabulous introductions stopped pretty abruptly. Best bet is to follow these habits and keep an engaged relationship as part of your sales productivity plan. When you get the right partner the rest is a breeze.