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Always Be Networking, But Rarely Be Selling


Robby

You need to get out there and make new contacts. Go to events, connect with colleagues on LinkedIn or Facebook. Follow industry leaders on Twitter. Participate in programs offered by groups like the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. Join the conversation and build your network.

But, you shouldn’t be selling, at least not most of the time. Always be networking, but rarely be selling.

Salesman
© Flickr User Laura Cummings

What’s the difference between the two? Networking is the process of creating opportunity through relationships; selling is the process of convincing someone to make a purchase.

Both have a negative reputation to some people. On more than one occasion, I’ve heard networking described as “schmoozing.” I went to dinner with friends at one popular Central Indiana restaurant chain, and they said that they would never come to the networking events offered there in their private space.

“That’s just people brown nosing and kissing up to strangers, like politicians seeking votes.”

I suppose it’s possible for people to misinterpret networking this way, but anyone who does this is making the same type of mistake as a bad salesperson. You know the type: they are pushy, demanding, and create false urgency. It’s become a cliché:

Buy now, before it’s too late!

The key difference between networking and sales is context. Since networking is about meeting people and helping them, you can do it anywhere—even at a funeral. But selling is about someone indicating that they are a potential customer. They have told you they are in the market for your products or services, and they want to hear what you have to offer. That’s the only time that selling is appropriate.

It’s the reason why telephone solicitation can be so annoying, but a telephone call from an old friend just to say hello can be so refreshing.

Context matters. Always be networking, but rarely be selling!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, July 7 2015 » Uncategorized

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