Networking is one of the most challenging activities for any salesperson, not just self-professed introverts like Matthew Pollard. In his new book, the sequel to his bestselling debut “The Introvert’s Edge”, Matthew outlines how anyone can adopt a new approach to networking and start getting results. Not sure if the book is for you? Read our review to find out.
2021 doesn’t seem like the best year to publish a book about networking, with many sales events going digital and the rest postponed until the pandemic is over.
However, Matthew’s book (full title: “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking: Work the Room. Leverage Social Media. Develop Powerful Connections”) is perfectly timed. It doesn’t strive to make you a networking expert overnight, but instead gives you the tools to start preparing and perfecting your networking strategy—a process that could take a few months and the perfect activity to keep you busy during a lockdown.
Once normality resumes, you’ll be ready to take what you’ve learned from this sales book to networking events to test it out on potential new prospects.
What’s the book about?
Like many of the best sales books, the lessons in “The Introvert’s Edge To Networking” were born of a salesperson’s need to overcome a challenge they faced. In Matthew’s case, he needed to build a network in a completely new country, having moved from Australia to Austin, Texas.
The challenge was made all the harder by the fact that Matthew didn’t live up to the stereotypical view of a gregarious salesperson.
To explain how he overcame this challenge, Matthew tells stories about his own experiences and teachable moments, as well as those of some of his clients—who range from a desert gardener, a Sotheby’s realtor, a business coach and the sales team of a billion-dollar technology company.
For example, he tells the reader about how he started in door-to-door sales (like Pipedrive’s co-founder Timo Rein) and then taught himself with YouTube videos after an early setback.
He reveals why these stories can not only help introverts engage prospective clients, but also help them overcome their nerves and insecurities.
“Your job when networking is not to download a lifetime of experience but, instead, to tell a powerful story that educates and inspires action.”
All his stories build up to a complete narrative, with each client account or personal remembrance illustrating one of his lessons.
In this regard, Matthew very much practices what he preaches. To get his message across, he uses storytelling, and it’s storytelling that underpins the strategy that he reveals can make anyone a great networker.
To start preparing your script for networking events, Matthew explains, you need to work out what tells a good story about yourself, your brand or your services—one that reveals your passion and contains a message that will engage the right prospects at networking events and encourage them to stay in touch after.
He also guides you through identifying what the right prospect looks like and how to find your ideal niche.
Who should read it?
Although the intended audience is named clearly in the title, anyone who networks in order to sell their product, brand or service can benefit from reading the book.
This is because Matthew guides you through a clear, repeatable process that can be replicated by anyone who wants to improve their networking skills.
“90 percent of network success (at least the way I do it) happens outside the room.”
At points, he even splits out his advice for people at different stages of their career, with separate tasks for employers, employees and even recent graduates.
If you are an introvert, though, don’t worry. There are sections specifically on how you can build confidence for networking events, with actionable tips.
Early on, Matthew also acknowledges that “the introvert’s roadmap to success doesn’t look like the introvert’s”, but that this is a fact that can be embraced. Instead, introverts need an approach that “leverages our natural strengths.”
This is the approach that Matthew zeroes in on: one that he believes can help introverts outsell anyone.
What you’ll find in the book
Matthew makes you engage in the process from the get-go, making you ask yourself questions and even create lists to better understand your niche, tell your story and prepare yourself for events.
The book contains lists of these self-exploratory questions, as well as detailed, actionable steps to take in preparation.
For example, in a section on finding your niche, he recommends that you look through your list of contacts to find your evangelists, biggest spenders and more, explaining clearly how you can categorize them and identify your ideal prospect persona.
“Networking success starts with finding what sparks excitement in you, then connecting it with what you currently do or want to be doing.”
He also gives you questions to help you find your passion, such as “what are the tasks that I do that make the time fly?” and directs readers to online resources where they can learn more.
5 key takeaways
Here are five of the key takeaways that come from Matthew’s book—although, as with every good sales book, there could be far more listed here.
- Networking events are often not the place to talk particulars, so look to continue the conversation after
- Matthew’s tips won’t just help with networking, but with sales pitches and sales proposals as well
- If you’re not sure why your top customers like you, pick up the phone and ask
- It’s often hard to get to the root cause of a problem, even for the person having it
- Interlace personal stories with pop culture references
To discover why Matthew calls himself the “Rapid Growth Guy”, and why you should think up a catchy identifier for yourself as well, you can buy the book from here.