As promised, here is another excerpt from my soon-to-be-released book, “Hello and a Handshake”. Here we’re focusing on the first of five Negative Networking Attitudes.
Sales Focus/Relationship Focus
We’ve already touched a bit on Negative Networking Attitude number one: Having a Sales Focus. I know only a few people who truly enjoy selling. I know even fewer who enjoy being sold to. If your image of the local Chamber of Commerce lunch is a bunch of people running around trying to wrestle each other to the ground so that they walk out with a signed contract, well, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to put yourself in the middle of that.
Here’s the problem. Those who adopt Negative Networking Attitude number one severely limit their ability to create good connections. If you are focused only on what other people can do for you — especially if that involves giving you their hard-earned money — then any connection can only be through that narrow path. If, for instance, money changes hands or a contract is signed, then a relationship has formed. If not, the relationship has failed.
Will some people at the event see you only as a potential prospect? Yep! You’ll learn how to deal with them. First, you need to address your own mental orientation. In this case, we’ll replace the Negative Networking Attitude of Sales Focus with the Positive Networking Attitude, Relationship Focus.
Having a relationship focus means you will see your fellow attendees as human beings — not prospects — each with his or her own dreams, challenges, and driving passions. When you perceive this, you can connect with them on a variety of levels, not just on whether they can buy from you. As you find more common points of interest and more ways you can help them achieve what they want to accomplish, you become a more important part of their lives.
Then a crazy thing happens. Because you, as a person, are important to them, your success becomes important to them. They look for opportunities for you. Suddenly, instead of selling to one person at a time, you are connecting with potential referral partners who each might bring you several people who want to buy from you.
All because you stopped selling and started connecting.
Questions to put you on the right track:
- Do I want someone to sell at me? If not, then don’t sell at others. Reciprocity works both ways.
- Who would I like to meet? This is an opportunity to meet new people. Who would build your network? Whom could you benefit?
- Who would I like to find out more about? It’s not always the best place to do it, but you could use this time to find out more about someone you already know.
- What crazy question could I ask that would show I’m not a salesperson? It doesn’t have to be bizarre, but showing a genuine interest in who they are will get you more than the most carefully crafted “elevator pitch.”
- What questions will I ask that aren’t related to business? Always remember, you are connecting with other people. Most will have lives and interests outside the business world.