6 – Networking is a Sales Opportunity

Years ago I heard advice from Success Champions Network founder Donnie Boivin. He taught that every networking event is a sales opportunity. For some time, I did not like this because I did not understand it. I heard it to encourage pitching at networking events, but that’s not what it means at all. One absolutely should not pitch, but one should always remember that the goal of all this meeting and greeting and relationship building is to ultimately find a sale, whether today, tomorrow, or next year.

In this episode, I discuss more how to thread the needle between being too salesy while networking and being too social.

Success Champions Network – https://www.successchampionsnetworking.com

Michael Whitehouse:

Hello and welcome once again to the guy who knows the guy podcast. I'm Michael Whitehouse, the guy who knows the guy, your host and guide on this networking journey. We continue to count down to JV Connect, which the first one will be December 12th and 13th, 2020. Free information at jv connect. com. And by information I mean, you should read the page and then you should register because this is going to be an amazing event. Today I want to talk to you about, uh, some great advice that I learned once and didn't understand due to a bit of a language barrier. We both spoke English, but we spoke it in different ways. And this advi this advice... Came from a man named Donnie Boveen. Now Donnie is the founder of the Success Champions Network. And I'm reminded of it because there was a live event near my area recently as I'm recording this, and I finally got to meet Donnie in person for the first time, and, uh, saw just such an incredible community that he's built, the Success Champions Network. And the advice that I'd heard and didn't make sense to me, began to make sense once I understood more of the context and where he was coming from. So Donnie's background is he's a sales guy. He did sales, he did sales training. He was all about sales. And he got into networking because he saw more and more networking groups popping up and he didn't like how they operated and thought a lot of them were a waste of time. And thought a lot of them were people who didn't know how to sell and didn't know how to close to try to not have to sell, which, you know, I resonate with because I learned to network because I don't like cold calling and networking was the better way to do it. But, he, with his sales background, that's sort of some of the language he used. And, what he said, was something along the lines of, Every networking event is a sales opportunity. And I heard this, and I went, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there, buddy. Networking's not a sales opportunity, because to my mind, To my mind, the people who do the worst networking are the ones who come in to take. You know, they're the gunslingers coming in being like, Hey, I got something to buy and I'm going to sell it to you. This is not, I would later learn, what he meant. So, I came from the perspective of, I don't want to be too salesy. I would rather err on the side of building relationships and not selling than erring on the side of selling and not building relationships. So, that, that's how I did it. Now, when I was publishing the magazine, uh, Mystic Neighbors and Niantic Neighbors, I did a lot of selling through networking events, but I started with the networking. In my book, I talk about how, you know, you can certainly pivot a networking conversation to a sales conversation, but you need to be very careful in how you do it, and you need to be very clear to be like, Okay, now I don't want to pitch you, would it be okay if we transition this conversation and get consent? But I have come to realize that what Donnie said was actually quite accurate. And the first clue should have been, he makes more money than I do. So, uh, if somebody is doing something you're doing and making more money than you, then maybe you should listen because they might be. doing it right. And so the first lesson is if someone says something and they're doing well, and they seem to be good, honest, ethical people, and it sounds like the thing they're saying doesn't agree with your philosophy and your, your dogma, perhaps first ask, do I misunderstand what they're saying? Are they actually saying something different than I think they're saying? Because we use words differently. So when I heard him saying it's a sales event, I'm thinking Ned Ryerson. Being all, you know, from Groundhog Day, saying, Hey, tell me about your insurance, and what do you need, and how can I help you, and uh, You know, you look a little bit overweight, I got some diet pills might be able to help you. That kind of thing. That's not what he meant, at all. He was instead talking about, my favorite of the seven habits, Begin with the end in mind. If you're going to a networking event, You're going there to sell. Not to pitch, Not to be obnoxious, but the end result, the end goal, Of going to this event, should be making a sale! That's kind of the ultimate culmination of all your business connection activities with non clients, right? And even with clients, you want to satisfy them enough that they're going to refer people to you. So what he was teaching was begin with the end in mind and the end is somebody's gonna give you money. Not necessarily somebody in that room, but somebody is going to give you money. So you're not there to have fun. fun. You're not there to make friends. You're not there to hear interesting stories. All those things can happen, but you're there to make a sale. That is the ultimate goal. Now, to be clear, this does not mean you're going to walk up to people and try to sell them. Cause that's not how you make a sale, but you're going in with that thought in mind, with that intention in mind. And that's what he meant that I now understand, didn't understand before. Now very much understand that you want to have that intention that you're going to make a sale. Now, here's the thing too. If you have something of value, if you have something that is worth more than you're charging for it, which anything you're selling should be worth more than you're charging for it to the person buying, that's why they buy. then you are doing them no service by not presenting it to them. In fact, when I was at this event, I was talking to someone about a JBConnect sponsorship. And I was thinking about their business model, and what one client is worth to them, and what the sponsorship costs. And I thought, huh, if they could get one client from the sponsorship, That one client would be a 3x return. Just one. A single sale. Would be a 3x return off the cost of a sponsorship. That's kind of a no brainer on a sponsorship that guarantees 50 opt ins, 50 leads. He could probably, and so I shared with him, I said, You know, just so you know, I have a sponsorship available for JV Connect. It costs this much, and um, You know, you're gonna get to get up for 3 minutes and share what you're doing, and And then they're going to be encouraged to answer the form and I guarantee you're going to get 50 opt ins. If you don't, I'll promote it out to my audience until you do. Uh, and he's like, oh, that sounds pretty good. And I said, yeah, you know, what, what's your, what's your program pricing structure? And he shared it. And his lowest cost program is three times as much as the sponsorship costs. I said, you could probably get one sale out of 50 leads, don't you think? And he's like, yeah, I certainly hope so. And I said, oh, okay. And he's like, yeah, definitely reach out to me. That's something I want to do. That was a sales conversation right there. The value proposition was so abundantly clear, if I hadn't told him about this and he'd found out about it later, he probably would have said, Hey, jerk face, why didn't you tell me about that? That's something I really wanted to know about. That was a really valuable thing and you didn't share it with me? Why not, punk? You know, you're kind of a jerk, not sharing that with me. So, it, it starts from, the thing you're selling has to be valuable. Not just valuable to you because you get paid, but valuable to the person who's going to pay you for it. And then, if that's the case, if you identify someone at the event who needs... what you are offering, then by all means, you should engage in that conversation. Now, in this particular case, this is someone I knew from some time ago, so we didn't need quite as much warm up. Uh, we hadn't talked in a while, but, you know, he knew who I was, I knew who he was, we knew, you know, we know each other's integrity and, and ethical standing and whatnot. Uh, but, you know, even for someone you, you meet for the first time, they share they have a need. You can gently say something like, I don't know if this would be of interest to you, but if it would, I've got X, Y, Z, I'd be happy to share more with you later if you like. And they'll either say yes or no. Now, again, you don't want to be aggressive, you don't want to be in their face, but you always want to be thinking, what do I have that is of value that somebody might pay for because this isn't a charity? We're in business to make money. Money is not a bad thing. Money is what makes the world go round. Money is a substitute for value. Money is simply a placeholder for the good we do and without it we can't keep doing it. Ask me how I know. Alright, straight out of college, I opened Phoenix Games. It was a game store. It was wildly successful, except for not making money. It built this incredible community, and it supported the people in it, and people loved it, and it was so great that people actually were willing to work for free to keep it running for 18 years. That, that we kept that going. So, you know, incredible success, except it never made money. But here's the thing, without being able to make money, that put a strain on it. That, that was a challenge, and ultimately, it didn't make enough to keep the doors open. It had enough volunteers to keep it running. But it didn't make enough money to keep the doors open and it collapsed and the community was lost because we didn't make money. Money is what makes things work. Money is what buys food for the poor. Money is what lets us have electricity so that we can record these awesome podcasts and get them to you. It all runs on money. Money is not evil. Money is not bad. Money is not wrong. Money is what lets us do the good things we want to do in the world. Some people use money for evil. Some people do bad things for money. Right? These are certainly the case. But if you're a good person, an ethical person, and you get money, you're going to do good and ethical things with it. So if you are a good and ethical person, you should have no shame about getting money for the good work you do. And if you're doing good work, then You will want to make sure that you are sharing that work with others So that they can give you money for it So you can help them and then help more people and then use that money to do more good work And that's how it works So when Donnie Bovine says every networking event and every conversation and every contact is a sales Opportunity what he's saying is it's a chance to share the good things you're doing Possibly for money with the people you can help And so I encourage you as you're JVConnect, don't think of it as you're trying to pitch someone. But think of it as who can I serve here? Who can I serve by serving their audience, their community? And ultimately, how will this lead to someone giving me money for doing the thing I do and sharing my genius? So that is my lesson this week. And of course. To do this, you have to be at JV Connect, which means go to jv connect. com. That's where you can get your registration and, uh, join us on December 12th and 13th. And by the way, if you want to know more about Success Champions, go to Success Champions Networking. That's successchampionsnetworking. com, and you can learn all about them. It's a great organization. They have chapters all over the country, and they have some national chapters as well, if you are more of a non geographically specific business. Um, but great organization, definitely recommend you check that out. I'm Michael Whitehouse, the guy who knows the guy. Thank you so much for listening, and I will see you in December at JV Connect.

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