Networking and selling do not mix. . . especially at the same networking event!
Someone once said, “Networking and selling are like oil and water. They both belong in your financial engine, but you must put them in separate containers.” Don’t know who said that, but they were very wise! You come across as self-serving and that’s not the way to network.
Tooting your own horn is the worst thing you can do in a social situation. Nobody but nobody likes to have services crammed down their throats.
The end game: While it’s true that most would agree that the end result of networking is to develop a relationship with someone you met and eventually someone makes a sale or gives you a lead or recommend you to their friends. The sale, leads and referrals almost always comes after the follow up and much after your first meeting.
“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.” ~ Seth Godin
The only selling you should do at a networking event is to sell yourself. If you haven’t learn the skill of selling yourself well, then you are probably wasting your time at networking events. The idea of “selling yourself” essentially means “to convince others of your value and worth.” Knowing this should take some of the pressure off of those who act desperate and go on a rampage handing out business cards and collecting cards at networking events.
“There are 3 things that we all need to sell ourselves: 1. Competence, 2. Likability and 3. Luck. The first two almost always deliver the third. Having competence and likability isn’t enough. It’s your customers and clients perception that you’re competent and likeable that counts.” ~ Arch Lustberg, author of “How to Sell Yourself“
Some define competence as: “the ability of people to perform work to a set standard.” To me competence means that if you judge yourself to be competent, you are probably already sold on yourself. You must be the number one person in your life. If you are not competent and lack confidence in yourself you better start there. Confidence is that one quality, that when embedded deep within, shines through for everyone to see.
Being sold on yourself is perhaps the first, and probably most important qualilty to successfully selling yourself to others. You better first believe in you before you can sell the idea to others.
There are endless opportunities in life where the key to success is the ability to sell yourself to others. Networking events should be at the tippy top of the list if you are a serious networker.
Another quality of selling yourself is authenticty. Networkers who shove business cards at strangers before they know whether they are even interested in them are not being authentic networkers. To the other person it comes across as being pushy. Pushy people often come across as dishonest or hustlers. STOP! What do you think about when I say hustlers?
To be authentic or genuine is conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust. You must first build the relationship before trust is possible.
Be creative and think of new ways to present your key qualities to others. Always be honest. Bragging about yourself will not help you sell yourself. In fact, it will hurt you. Overdoing it, and you’re a grandstander. That’s another “no-no” in networking. Instead, analyze your strengths and offer helpful information about your accomplishments by weaving anecdotes – that include others besides yourself – into the conversation. Be conversational. Resist the urge to sell. Put your best foot forward but make sure it’s connected to the “real” you!
You must have confidence in your abilities as a networker. Maintaining a high level of integrity and a high quality of networking skills will help keep you self-assured. Don’t know where to begin? Either pray for guidance or do yourself a favor and hire a networking coach!
“There is a big difference between promoting and networking. Going to an event to hand out business cards and talk about your business is called promoting. Going to an event to meet interesting individuals that you can form an alliance with, is called networking. The easiest way to know that you found someone you can work with is to ask yourself if you like this person. You are only going to do business with someone you know, like and trust… so if you are not clicking with someone… it’s OK. Just move on. There are plenty of people out there that you’ll be able to click with and build a successful relationship.” ~ Gelie Akhenblit, Founder of Networking Phoenix
Upon meeting someone new, and after finding out what they do, I will ask them, “How can I help you?” That often throws them for a loop because it is so unexpected and unlike the others they have just met. It’s an important question. If asked with sincerity, it can fast forward nearly any relationship.
We are all selling something. Some sell their partner on being in a relationship with them. Parents sell the idea of behavior and consequences to their children. Your teen will sell you on the idea of using the family car for their first date. Others sell themselves on whether to buy this or that. When interviewing for a job, you better be real good at selling yourself if you want the position. It’s important to focus on selling yourself by demonstrating your self worth. It’s the best way to build trust and respect which will help you build a great reputation.
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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