Stop associating Networking with Sales

tree-in-desertI believe that introverts and extroverts alike have the ability to network. I also believe that many people have never learned how to be successful at networking because they have been taught to incorrectly associate networking with sales. More than ever, the articles and seminars on networking are full of information regarding elevator pitches, how to work a room, and closing the sale. The problem is that all of these items miss the mark on the primary focus of networking: relationship development.

I was honored to reconnect with Rob Comet and Ambur Willis of BCWH Architects over the past several weeks in preparation for a private webinar on Networking that I presented to their firm on Friday. During our many conversations I was impressed with BCWH’s dedication to the relationships that their employees have with each other, clients, and others in the industry. Preparing his company for the road ahead, Ron clearly told his staff prior to the start of the program that BCWH was more interested in people than immediate sales, a philosophy that I wholly agree with.

Not everyone can sell, but everyone can Network

Over your career you have probably met dozens of people that can really sell. They are generally extroverts that have learned the art of understanding the only two things that people buy: Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings. While these people are amazing at what they do, I would argue that the vast majority of corporate revenue in the world comes from something far more powerful, relationships. This is especially true in the services industry where our primary product is the knowledge and capability of people.

Your Relationships

What about you, are you focusing on the sale or the relationships? If you are focusing on the former let me encourage you to evaluate relationships as a better approach to long-term success.

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3 Responses to “Stop associating Networking with Sales”


  1. 1 Kevin Savage May 4, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Tim:

    Timely article – over the past 12 months, more than 80% of my sales have been based on relationship. I am almost never the low-priced provider of the services my firm offers – solid relationships plus years of solid performance are helping us to weather the economic storm. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. 2 Avril Shelton/Sales Journal May 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Tim: Excellent presentation of your thoughts. Our lives run by a system of netowrks. I work in the sales industry as a support person, developing relationships and networks…I couldn’t imagine doing anything in any industry that wasn’t relationship based, and if I was told it wasn’t relationship based…I’d naturally find a way to make it so…
    Human nature?
    Relationships matter all the more in this economy…thank you for refreshing us with the idea…

  3. 3 Vicki White May 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Excellent article Tim and very to the point. You simply cannot have sales without the relationship aspect. And yes, I agree, not everyone can sell but if you work at becoming a master networker, then the selling will do itself.

    We all want to do business with those we like and chances are we met those folks at a networking event!


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