Yesterday we talked about one analogy with respect to networking. Today, as I struggled to roto-till my vegetable garden, I remembered another one that I had heard.

Networking is to selling what gardening is to hunting.

While both networking and selling can result in achieving a variety of goals, let’s focus on just the aspect of increasing the number of clients or customers who are going to be buying from us.

Is selling like hunting?

Well, in both cases you lie in wait or actively seek a particular target. You try to knock out its defenses until it is vulnerable and you can move in for the kill, er, close. The benefits are that hunting and selling both have a relatively short turn-around time. The downside is that if you sell without concern for the well-being of the customer, then, just like the hunt, that particular individual is dead to you.

What about networking and gardening?

Both require a lot of prep work. In gardening, you’ve got to prep the soil, plant the seeds, fertilize and water, and be prepared to wait a long time before the harvest. You just can’t rush the process. In networking, you’ve got to meet new people, establish good connections, provide value over what may be a long period of time before they are going to be willing and able to pass business to you. The benefits are that over the long haul, the network you plant will continue to produce for you with only a minimal amount of effort on your part. Downside is that it does take a great deal of time and patience before you are going to see the harvest.

Examining this analogy, it’s apparent that both approaches have their merits.  Over the long term, of course, harvesting from the garden requires significantly less effort and can be a heck of a lot more fun than hunting for your next sale. In the short term, though, a little sales is necessary, lest you starve before the harvest comes in.

The trick is engaging in the hunt without killing the crops in the garden.