I 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.
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.