Networking-A Critical Skill in Sales
Do you like to network? For some, it’s distasteful act of shallow conversations, grabbing the other person’s card, looking for prospects—I call it “The Gimme Game.” Connections are really not formed; if anything, they are strained and desperate. I’ve been to some events where it is so crowded and loud, I started “mooing” as I thought I was in a cattle yard. If your mindset is to snag and grab cards and then go back to the office the next day and start dialing, you’re in for a rude awakening. Today’s business is based on relationships not just products and services. I call it Relationship Networking. Relationship networking is simply the art of meeting people and benefiting from those relationships. Often the benefit of these relationship is to obtain information and leads to further grow your business. Any successful relationship, whether a personal or a business relationship, is unique to every pair of individuals, and it evolves over time. Effective relationship networking is all about building those relationships and maintaining long lasting connections with other professionals. Taking relationship networking a step further, what if we looked at a networking event as a “netgiving” event. What if a networking event were an event at which you ask the person of your networking what you can do for them?
Netgiving to Success
A wonderful book to read is Tommy Spauldings’ book “It’s Not Just Who You Know”. As Tommy puts it, “Building relationships is about others—it’s more than networking. When a heart centered on others drives your actions, networking is replaced by something far, far more powerful—Netgiving. Networking is all about you. Netgiving is all about others.”
We need to develop an attitude of openness to those that we meet and approach every person we encounter with an awareness of the hidden potential to develop a relationship. Tommy breaks down relationships in five levels. Level 1: Meet and great—purely transactional, Level 2: You share basic personal information, Level 3—NSW—News, sports and weather and you start to share opinions and feelings. Level 4: the Relationship are more open and candid. We respond in ways that show that we value the relationship for its own sake. The relationship reflects an ability to work through and a willingness to at times, put the other person’s interests above our own. And Level 5: These relationships are our closest—they are based more on giving than on getting. As Tommy writes, “They are relationships based on a shared empathy—an intuitive understanding of each other’s need, even those that aren’t necessarily expressed. In Level Five Relationships, we become confidants, advisers, and partners in helping the other person achieve their greatest potential.”
The NetWeaver’s Creed
Bob Littell’s title is Chief NetWeaver. I got the opportunity to talk to Bob, and by the time I got off the phone, he promised me that he would introduce me to authors: Seth Godin, Joseph Michelli and Tim Sanders. He sent each an email of introduction and also volunteered to give his impressions of the “90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”. This was just the first call!! Bob Littell is truly a NetWeaver and Bob created what is titled “The NetWeaver’s Creed”.
I will constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to put people together in win/win relationships without concern for what I will get out of it.
I will shift from thinking about WIIFM (What’s in it for me) to WIIFY (What’s in it for you).
I will learn to be a resource for others, both regarding the types of information I can provide as well as to surround myself with resource contacts who can be of service to those with whom I come in contact.
I will apply the principles of NetWeaving on a daily basis and will make a habit of doing those things that will allow me to best implement NetWeaving strategies.
I will become an outspoken “NetWeaving” ambassador realizing that this will not only help others learn the joys and benefits of NetWeaving but that it will reflect positively back on me as well.
When I go to networking events, I make sure that I write notes on the back of the card of those that I meet and decide if the person could be an A, B or C opportunity. I’ll make notes about their needs and challenges so that I have some point of reference. I always carry a notebook with me if the back of the card isn’t sufficient.
A major point to remember is if you’re building a relationship with someone, you’re also building a relationship with the people who are important to that person. Most people know about 150 people intimately. You never know who they know that needs to know about you.
When coming to networking events, come with a heart of generosity. Acting out of generosity heightens our awareness about the needs of others and builds trust with those around us.
Lastly, develop a “Fifth-Level” All Star Team for your business and personal life. You need to surround yourself with great people that you’ve gone deep with. They can depend on you and you can depend on them.
To Your Success!!
Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and all what Summit Champions has to offer, go to www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at [email protected]