Networking to increase sales quickly can often be a frustrating undertaking. Many businesspeople join their local Chamber of Commerce or business networking group, and are initially excited at the prospects. But the unfortunate reality is that it often doesn’t live up to expectations; so we quit and look for another way to drive sales to our business.
But wait! There are principles of networking
that do work — and that are almost opposite to what we may believe we should be doing when networking.
The focus of networking should not be about gaining an immediate sale from the people you talk to. In fact, that tactic almost never works. Instead, success tends to come from focusing on building advocate relationships
— those that turn into referral connections, serving as a conduit to other potential clients.
The goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship with someone who is a connector, someone that may never even buy your product or service.
When writing the book, “The Connectors,” I observed that many of the most successful people I interviewed were incredibly skilled at networking, but not in the way that I thought of networking. It is a mindset formed around what you will accomplish while networking. If you build a relationship with someone, they could become a great advocate for you.
So, it’s really not about who you meet in your networking activities; it’s about who they know. It’s about building a relationship based on trust and credibility and having your advocates do the selling for you. It is absolutely genius!