Dubbed the “Trade Show King,” International Sales Director Kurt Polsley is no newbie to networking. In fact, it’s been said that when you walk a trade show with Polsley you cannot go but a few feet without hearing his name called or running into someone he knows.
Creating an extensive network like Polsley’s hasn’t been without hard work, dedication and a desire to learn. As many companies – Muncie Power Products included – rely on making new contacts and establishing customer relationships, networking is a must in today’s business world.
According to Polsley, these relationships keep businesses going.
“If you develop it correctly it’s not just a one-time sale,” said Polsley. “It’s a business relationship that can be 40, 50 years in length.”
With vast networking experience, Polsley has learned tips applicable for those in any industry. Four tips to keep in mind, as Polsley mentioned: smile, be open to going up and introducing yourself, qualify the visitor and have an elevator pitch prepared.
“I think most people are there for a reason and have a story to tell and want to be informative to each other,” Polsley said. “I think you have to start the dialogue to be able to do that.”
As many companies foster worldwide networks, this dialogue can encompass multiple cultures. Being the international sales director, Polsley’s network extends across the globe.
Networking within other cultures also means differing languages, customs and expectations. For this reason, doing your homework about the culture prior to networking is very important.
In other cultures for instance, the initial meeting focuses on the person opposed to the company or product and the business card can list the individual’s last name first - according to Polsley.
“The customer, or really the potential customer, really wants to get to know you as the individual and then get to know about your company before you even get to discussing the product,” said Polsley. “May be two or three trips in before you have the opportunity to discuss potential business with them.”
And don’t forget to take a business card when networking, which can be potentially detrimental to the first impression.
“Shame on the salesperson that doesn’t bring a business card,” said Polsley.
If possible, find out the contact’s preferred method of communication and follow up once the individual has had a chance to return to their place of business – according to Polsley. The sooner the better, he explains, because if you’re last to follow up it could be a lost opportunity.
Moving forward, remember time is valuable – for future meetings, schedule ahead and set the appointment.
To maintain and cultivate relationships Polsley recommends reaching out to the contact with pertinent information regarding their company or the individual – like when updated literature is available, when something of interest comes up from your previous visit or birthdays and anniversaries occur.
At the end of the day, these personable relationships make all the difference.
“I’m a true believer that person to person relationships are always going to be the best relationships,” said Polsley.
Kurt Polsley - International Sales Director
Like many long-term employees at Muncie Power Products, Kurt Polsley began his career of more than 45 years in the company shop to learn the business from the floor up. Since then, Kurt has held various positions and at different company locations. During his spare time, Kurt enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with his 12 grandchildren – going to school plays, sporting events like soccer and dance and any other activities in which they participate. Kurt is married to his wife, Lynn, of 47 years and they have four, adult daughters.