Relationships or Sales — By the Numbers, Part 2: Quality

Yesterday we talked about the relative value of seeking sales versus seeking relationships when we attend networking events. After a little bit of math (and a fair amount of hand-waving) we kind of figured out that pursuing sales might net you around ten people whom you might successfully sell to. At the same time, seeking and eventually developing relationships might lead to something more on the order of 125 people who might like to buy from you.

Of course, take those numbers with a grain of salt. As we all know, 76.4% of all statistics that you read in blog posts are made up. Still even if we are very conservative with our figures, the numbers tend to point to forming relationships as the most lucrative way to go.

And it gets better.

Let’s take a look at the quality of those numbers. If we had a “sales scale” numbering from zero to ten, with zero being you just met the person and ten being a signed contract, where do you suppose the ten “sales” start if you are attending events to sell? Pretty much by definition, they start at zero.

That means for all one hundred people, you have to go through the sales process. You have to probe for needs, you have to overcome objections. You have to deal with budgets, decision makers, last minute changes of mind, and buyers remorse. Some of those hundred will drop out of the process right away, but many might make it a fair way, requiring more of your timeIn short, you have to sell from zero to ten.

Now, let’s look at the 125 folks who come to us as referrals from our relationship building plan.

Our friends in our network sent these folks our way. Why? Because they said that they needed something which we could supply. So, these friends of friends already have a need and our friends probably even spent some time making sure that they were a good match for us. So, that means we probably don’t have to probe for needs. They’re the ones coming to us as opposed to us pursuing them. That means they probably aren’t going to have a whole lot of objections to overcome. We’ll probably still have to deal with some of the sales issues that the “seller” guys has to, but even those will be reduced given that the person in question has already recognized that they need our help.

So, on that scale from zero to ten, where do you think they fall? Eight? Nine? Nine and a half?

Heck, I’ve even seen a couple of “tens” in my business.

So, I guess it’s up to the individual person, but for me at least, deciding between ten people whom I have to sell from zero and over a hundred who are ready to buy, the actual thought process takes all of about two seconds.

So, if you see me at an event, don’t be surprised if I walk up, say hello, and start making friends. It’s more fun (and profitable) for all involved.

Photo credit: Ayhan YILDIZ

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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