The saying – Nothing happens until the sale happens – is true today and will always be true when a transfer of goods or services are part of the transaction. To cause sales to happen, businesses take any number of approaches. Marketing and sales work hand in hand to cause brand exposure in the marketplace so that when a buyer has a need, the organization is top of mind to that buyer.
One of the tools in the marketing and sales effort is having people go to networking events. These gatherings of potential business transactions, influencers and referrals are a sea of possibility or a storm of confusion. Let’s first acknowledge that not all of us are fans of going to networking events. Some of us know the potential value and benefit of investing the time and energy to participate. While still others know how to not just participate but actually generate business from the time invested.
The key is to have the right mindset and actual goals for the time invested. Networking events bring people together not to close business on the spot although it may occasionally happen. It is a time to meet others and get to know them and them to know you. It is not about selling them something but more about how you can help them when either they have a need, or they know of someone in their future who would have a situation you can resolve for them.
With that in mind, networking is anything but not working. Investing time into a network situation requires preparation. It is not about being out of the office and not working. It is about preparing yourself to articulate the value and problem-solving capabilities you bring into the marketplace. Having a well-defined clear and concise statement of your organization’s purpose and outcomes is key to timely interactions which leave the person you meet with a strong positive impression of both you and the organization you represent. It is almost impossible to establish a trust-based relationship in a few minute conversation but you can leave the interaction having delivered the confidence you hold for your business capabilities.
Networking is also not all about telling others all about the accolades of you and your business. It starts with an authentic listening ear to first understand the person you are speaking with and appreciate how you can help and serve that person’s future interests. If you are just there to blab about you and your company and have no interest or concern to help others prosper, then you are back to not working and just talking.
By being authentic in your interest in others you do have the ability to establish a reasonable understanding that you and your organization take the time to be involved with the other person and are not so interested in meeting everyone in the room. If your goal is just to pick up business cards and not invest in the others in the event, then you might consider another way to gather lead data.
JKL Associates has had the honor and privilege of being part of the Detroit Executives Association for almost 30 years. The executive, business owner network association has its roots as far back as 1926 and its creed is – That Man may last but never lives, who oft receives but never gives. It sums up networking very well. With the right mindset of giving value and providing insights with no expectation of immediate reward, the fountain of recurring revenues can and will flourish when you network vs. not working.
Looking to help you and your team more fully understand their best interpersonal skills to enable them to be a more effective networker? A JKL Associates Promise Guide can help. Give us a call at FL (407) 984-7246 or MI (313) 527-7945
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