Saturday, January 13, 2007

Networking with Respect.

This past week I had a telephone call from a contact from a networking group I belong to in downtown Detroit. I had only met him once and then he moved to another chapter several months ago. It was more or less an introductory call to determine if I could use the product he was selling. I had no problem with this approach to getting new business. I always want to know what businesses are in other chapters. The interesting thing was how he closed the call.

He asked if I could give him numbers of 3 businesses who he could follow up on? This instantly made me uncomfortable. First, because I really don't know this gentleman. Second, because I don't easily give up numbers on people I respect. It is a confidentiality issue. He volunteered one of his contact's numbers for me to call, (the give first rule). The networking I enjoy is building up a relationship. I only want to pass on leads when there is an actual desire for service. In other words - qualifyed leads. I myself do not want just a list of names, I don't need a networking group to get that.

When I wish to refer a business, I first make sure that the customer is willing to accept the call. Nobody appreciates ackward moments and everyone's time is valuable, so I want to be sure the need is genuine. This way if business transpires - everybody wins - customer, supplier and facilitator.

Just last week I have had the pleasure of putting together a customer and supplier. It was a very comfortable referral, and the customer was very grateful for the caliber of referral I was able to provide. It increased my value to him. Win, win, win.

How do you like to network? Do you do it with an organized group or do you do it yourself? I am always looking for ways to do business. I find sales facinating and successful sales people inspiring. What is most rewarding is that truly effective sales people are not the 'snake oil sales people' that the general public associates with salesmen but are usually people who have a genuine desire to connect people and do a little business themselves. They are very focused people with a passion for their profession.

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