At networking events keep your focus on relationships, not sales!
One thing I would like for our partner members to work on is that I don’t think they should try to close sales right there at our meetings. The reason I say this is very simple. The whole purpose for going to these meetings is getting to know one another. It is very difficult to get to know one another when you were trying to sell to one another all the time. It is very hard to build rapport with another person when he won’t let his barriers down and whenever people are being sold to they always feel like they should be defensive.
Have you ever had a neighbor or a friend or a colleague who sold Amway? If so, then you know exactly the feeling that I am trying to explain here. Nobody likes to be sold to all the time. And when you have somebody who every time they try to speak with you is trying to sell you something you want to spend at least amount of time as possible speaking with that person. Do you want that person to be you??? Well, if when you meet somebody new all you can talk about is trying to sell your company to them, trying to sell your services to them and why they should immediately become your client, then you are that guy who sells Amway! There’s nothing different between you and the annoying Amway salesman.
Now I have seen over and over and over and over in networking meetings where someone does have a service that you have or someone did come looking for such a service that you might provide and they ask right then and there for a quotation. That my friend, is serendipity. And serendipity is a very good thing. When serendipity happens at a meeting then business happens as it well should. However we’re not talking about serendipity here when I’m talking about constantly selling to people.That puts undue pressure on both you and the person you just met. It’s pressure on you to make a sale and it’s pressure on the other person to get away for you.
The more I think about this I believe that people do this because they have the expectation that networking is all about sales. Well, in a way it is. But it’s also about marketing. But most importantly it’s about meeting new people, new connections and building on old relationships. Establishing connections and keeping up relationships are very hard to do when you’re pressuring the other person to buy from you. You can clear all of this up by changing your mindset. Consider that a networking meeting is not necessarily about sales. If you focus on the relationship part I promise you’ll make more sales in the long run.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.