To clarify, let’s say you’re at a networking event. You meet somebody. After you both tell each other a little about what it is you do, you then find yourself in the spin cycle of them telling you why you need their product or service.
So, do you like being sold?
Another example. It’s a day after the networking meeting you get a call from a guest you spoke to for a minute or two after the session. They want to set up an appointment to discuss your (fill in the blank) needs. Whether it’s a product you may or may not need, how do you feel on the call?
Again, do you like being sold?
For most, the answer is “probably not”. For the rest of us, the answer is “hell no!”
Networking works based on the principle that you prefer to do business with people you know beyond a cordial “hello”. Why? When you know somebody, you tend to share information about your business. Things like how your computers are running, whether you’re looking to hire or looking to relocate your business. And if you’re comfortable enough with a business acquaintance to share that information, then you are probably open to hearing the following response:
“I know somebody who does (fill in the blank), would you be open to meeting/talking to them.”
Then, it’s your choice about taking the next step and that’s a huge differentiator than the example at the beginning. Chances are, you will take that next step because you need that product or service and, most importantly, the person was referred by somebody you know and (within reason), trust.
That’s essentially why networking has a much higher percentage of translating to business than cold calling and trying to sell people you just met.
One of the things we emphasize at the beginning of a My Pinnacle Network meeting is that fellow members are not potential customers but your sales force. Your job as a member is to educate them about your business and your offerings. Essentially, you are preparing them for when one of their contacts says one of those key phrases-e.g. I wish I had a better (fill in the blank)-that they are ready to offer an introduction to you.
That’s not to say that My Pinnacle Network members don’t employ the services of other members. They do. But it’s almost always because that member has heard the elevator pitch, has done a one-on-one and thought, “that’s something I can use for my business”.
That’s not to say there’s no place for sales in networking. Far from it. But in a networking group, you really have to be sold on the member every bit as much as their product or service. And that’s the very distinct difference between selling and networking.