Once I had a conversation with a man who operates his own consulting business here in Chicago; we discussed sales, networking, and other related subjects. He wanted my take on some of these topics. He’s just as frustrated as I am with salespeople and sales management who see the sales process through the selfish lens of their concerns, as opposed to being focused on the client/customer.
Is that you? Is it all about you and your product or service? Are you mainly concentrating on your quota, your numbers? Are you in such a hurry to sell something that you give little thought to the people you’re trying to do business with? Do their wants and needs mean little to you? Are they just there to fulfill your wants and needs? When you approach a new prospect, do you dive right into your presentation without worrying to get to know the individual, without worrying about showing any interest in that person and his company, without asking the necessary questions to arm yourself to serve the prospect adequately? Is this your selling methodology, philosophy?
When you network, is it the same story? When someone follows you on Twitter, do you instinctively send them an automatic message to a link to sell something, along with few words like “I want to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime”? Is that your idea of networking? Do you expect to steadfast succession by throwing enough of a particular substance against the wall and hoping a good measure of it will stick? Is your excuse for this kind of “networking” your busy schedule and lack of time? After all, you’re a salesperson, and your focus is on selling, right? Who has the time to get to know anyone, talk to them?
I have news for you: if you’re going about your business in the manner I’ve described in the above two paragraphs, you’re committing a form of sales/networking Hara-kiri, and you’re self-destructing. You’re turning people off. Your methodology/philosophy is backwards! You must stop it!
The focus should be on the other guy, on what’s important to him, not you. The focus should be on providing value to that person, not on selling her something. If you offer great value and concentrate on serving that prospect to the best of your ability, if he comes first, incredible things are going to happen.
Write this down: Success is a byproduct of providing great value and concentrating on the wants and needs of the customer. It’s not about you or your numbers!
Networking is about what you can offer for the other person, about paying it forward; it’s not about what that person can do for you.
There are no shortcuts in life. You can’t be in such a hurry and hope to succeed. You have to care enough about people to serve them the right way; you have to make them the focus. If you do that, the rewards will astound you. The relationships you’ll develop and enjoy will amaze you. You’ll overtake your peers and management will kneel at your feet. I’m a big fan of Dr. Tony Alessandra. Remember his Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”
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