Networking can be an interesting experience. While you meet a lot of different personalities and businesses, two types of people tend to stand out in the crowd, those who are interested in building relationships and those focused on the sale.
While we need sales to survive in business, there is a real danger in making sales your only focus. Could your motives be costing you customers?
The sales-focused, money driven person
We all know this character, and there’s a high chance we’ve all been this character at some point in our careers. They are the ones who nearly give you a paper cut as they shove their business card under your nose or the businesses that make you feel like a dollar sign rather than a living, breathing, paying customer.
While you may still buy from these characters, chances are you are buying because it is easier, cheaper, or there is no other viable option at the moment, not because you are loyal to them.
The same applies to your customers. When you focus on ‘getting the sale’ your customers’ money has a habit of becoming more important than the problems they need solving, and let’s face it anyone willing to pay becomes your customer not just those you know you can help. While this might help you with short-term cash flow, it can harm you long-term and leave you vulnerable to disruption.
If your customers are only with you because you are the cheapest or the most viable at the moment you need to prepare for a mass exit when something better comes along – and it will.
The service-focused, value-driven person
Smart business owners know that the best way of generating more sales is to stop selling and start serving.
I’ll never forget the day I decided to stop having sales meetings and start having problem-solving sessions. I was no longer at a meeting to ‘get the sale’ I was there to ‘give value’ through an idea, suggestion, shortcut, solution, contact or similar, and ensure my potential customer walked away with something far more tangible than my business card.
Making this shift not only felt more authentic, but it also made building relationships easier, meetings more productive, and it generated a lot more sales and referrals.
Why? Because people want to be helped not sold to.
So the next time you are networking or at a sales meeting, remember that customers want to be more than a sale to you. And if you don’t want to act as a lead source for your competitors, make sure you never make them feel that way.