Many sellers treat networking as a short-term transaction: what can I get from this person now? They focus narrowly on identifying buyers who are ready to make a purchase. While this may lead to some quick revenue, the seller has missed the opportunity to develop long-term relationships that would lead to more sales down the road and build a relationship as more than just a self-interested salesperson.
Now let’s imagine what networking looks like under a different paradigm we call Targeted Generosity. The “targeted” aspect means sellers focus their attention on the kinds of people and organizations that are likely to be sources of business opportunities in the future. And then we have the game changer: generosity. Rather than assessing what he or she can “get” from these potential buyers, the seller develops relationships with decision-makers, learning about their challenges and goals. Then the seller thinks about ways to offer solutions and be of help. This might mean positioning yourself as a resource for information and expertise—freely offered—suggesting candidates for an open position on the decision maker’s team, or even connecting him or her with other service providers. While these acts of generosity may not lead to immediate sales, they establish you as a source of solutions and a person invested in the potential buyer’s success. Guess who they will call when it’s time to make a purchase?
At GrowthPlay, we live by the platinum rule. An upgrade on the golden rule—“treat others the way you want to be treated”—the platinum rule tells us to “treat others the way they want to be treated.” How do you know what they want? You have to get to know them and learn what they’re trying to achieve. Ask good questions and listen to the answers. Look for opportunities to offer help. There may not be anything “in it for you” at the moment, but embracing generosity in a targeted way creates positive experience, builds your reputation as resourceful and client focused, and will lead to referrals and sales down the road.