You go to networking events to network, not to sell

Posted by Terry / on 03/07/2010 / 6 Comments

You go to networking events to network, not to sell-

I am not a big fan of pet peeves, but if I had one it would be the people at
networking events who try to cram their product or service down my throat. I am
not there for you to sell me stuff. You shouldn't be there if you need to sell
stuff right now. That's not how it works.

My good friend Charlie likens networking to farming and construction. Unlike the
hunting mentality in sales, networking takes time. You actually have to develop
relationships. Those things just don't happen over-night. Sure, many of us were
in the right time at the right place where we happened to meet the right person
and said the right thing to them. And that led to a sale, but that just doesn't
happen all that often. Think of it like a cold call close. You do remember the
cold call close, right?

A "cold call close" when you literally walk into or call a client absolutely out of the blue and sell them your product or service. Even in businesses where this practice
actually occurs (like in telecom service sales) it doesn't happen often.

Most of us aren't going to sell something just walking down the street. Sales don't often happen at networking events either. So stop trying. Please.

Instead, try going to an event with the stated goal of meeting some people who you
can help grow in business and may be able to help you do the same.

Most salespeople that have to cold call as part of their business development
process know that they are better served trying to gather information on the
cold call and trying to set an appointment. Why would meeting someone at a
networking event be any different?

Think about it, you are at a networking event meeting people with whom you
could do business for the first time. Why would you expect those interactions
to be any different than a cold call? They are exactly the same scenario with
the exception of the fact that the person you just met is there to network with
you.

So let them. Make yourself easy to network with. Do the same thing you would
do on any other cold call. Gather information to see if you can help them. But
this time try helping them in two ways.

1. Can you help their business grow or find the resources it needs through your
network?
2. Can your company provide a solution for theirs?


Make sure you understand how you can be of service and if you find that you can,
ask for the appointment.

Be connected-

Terry Bean

If you need to know how to be more effective in ANY aspect of your online or face to face networking, I am available to coach you through it!

 

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Comments

  • Matt says:

    Well Said Terry. I agree. Nobody likes to be sold to. People want to do business with people they like or can be of help to them or their company. It takes time to network and develop relationships. That's the investment, time. My attitude is I either help someone by referring, find a new friend or if applicable, a really good customer.

    March 13, 2010 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

  • Terry says:

    Right on Matt. I couldn't agree more!

    March 15, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

  • Royal says:

    Buy or Sell A Business

    May 31, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

  • Kim says:

    I totally agree. When someone starts out telling me about themselves and what they do and doesn't ask about me first that is a red flag. Also, networking is about cultivating relationships and sharing resources that are mutually beneficial. So many go to networking events to land sales. They've got it all wrong!

    July 20, 2010 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

  • Gail says:

    You are SO right, Terry. Also, a notice to job seekers... Many are told to seek out "informational interviews." Again, the point is to make the session be mutally benefitical. NO one is going to take personal responsibility for your career! Remember, if you are going to ask someone for a favor - you must return the favor. ASK how you can help them with their business!

    August 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

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    November 7, 2012 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

 

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