Here you go 2 Reasons Why Networking and Sales People Don't Mix - I’ve attended many business networking events and one thing that has always surprised me is the lack of salesmen at the events. When you start to think about it, there are 2 clear reasons why.

I started a barbecue sales business many moons ago and was looking for a number of sales agents who might be interested in selling my barbecue design as part of their portfolio.

I was manufacturing the product in China and importing it by the container load so from a supply chain perspective (and good inventory management) it was important to get the product sold as quickly as possible. No time to wait for a tickle here and a tickle there, I needed sales and fast so my idea was to find a network of “closers”. You know the sort of guy I mean, good at communicating features, translating those through into benefits and then going in for the kill before the poor victim has time to question why he’s handing over his credit card details!

I’ve been involved in business networking for many years now and have written a lot of business networking tips to help others achieve the same success that I have so I thought that a business networking event would be the ideal place to find an organisation of sales agents. How wrong I was, and it was only when I started to think a little more about that it made me wonder why sales people don’t attend business networking events.

The answer to this conundrum is actually fairly simple and if you’re a sales person reading this then you can probably comment. Business networking and sales people don’t come together because sales people just don’t get it!

Fundamentally networking is just too slow and not sufficiently direct, a sales person wants to sell and results are the name of the game. Selling to clients is completely different from business networking because networking is not about selling, it’s about getting to know like and trust one another in a way that allows each party to feel confident to refer another’s services.

The “know like and trust” comes from relationship building and this takes time. You don’t make friends in one meeting so networking has to be viewed in a much longer term context. The other thing to remember is that in many networking relationships start by giving rather than taking, clearly offering support to one of your fellow networkers is a great way to start that relationship building process.

The other point that sales guys don’t get is that there could be more than communication to the person immediately in front of you. Sales guys sell, it’s an A to B process whereas networking is much more subtle, certainly A to B to C and maybe to D and beyond. For example, imagine you are networking and the communication is between you and another person (A & B) then the client who finally buys your services (C) is outside your networking group and is referred to you by B. Bring a sales guy to a networking meeting and they will try to sell to their fellow networkers rather than trusting in the principle of the third party.

If you’re a sales person reading this then I hope that maybe now you do get it, it’s really important and it could be a major source of new business. There’s probably loads of people like I was at business networking groups looking for sales services but until you understand these subtleties of business networking, then frankly there’s not much point in showing up - While most marketing artists are working long and hard online, EVO continues to lead the way saving your time, thought-provoking ideas

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