June 24, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Schmooze, Don’t Sell

I borrowed the first word of this week’s topic from the Schmooze event in Portland and the LinkedIn group.  This is a marketing topic that is meaningful to every business person, and to every person who is interested in marketing anything, even themselves for a new career.  Whatever it is that you are promoting, you need to market to other people.

If you intend to market a product or service, or even your own talent, you need to network with others.  That means that you need to attend networking events where you can meet other business people to whom you can market what you have.  At networking events you need to schmooze with other people, not attempt to sell them.  I often meet business people who tell me that networking does not result in sales.  They are correct, it doesn't.  It results in marketing opportunities for you to meet others, get to know them and their needs, and for them to get to know you and your needs.

Those opportunities to market to others are the foundation of future sales.  When you attend a networking event, don’t even bring a sales form or contract with you.  The person who believes that they will leave a networking event with a newly signed client will be disappointed.  This is a chance for you to meet someone with whom you can later meet again and discuss what they do and need.  It is a chance for them to discover the same about you.  Then, after you have developed a relationship, sales may be possible between the two of you.

Notice that we did not say that you attempt to sell to the other person after the initial meeting.  People buy from those people who they know, like, and trust.  Only through meeting them again can you discover whether the three criteria are present.  In addition, in this second meeting, or a later one, you can position yourself to receive referrals from this other person, whether or not you have sold anything to them.  Teach them to put money into your pocket through the people that they know, or meet, who may need what you have to sell.

Throughout this process of meeting them multiple times and forming a networking partnership, do not attempt to sell them anything until you determine if they need whatever you have.  Once you have formed this relationship, you can move from schmoozing to attempting to sell to them.  At that point, the selling phase will be easier, simpler, and less prone to failure because you will know each other.  You then relate to the person as a person, not as a sales person.

Marketing and sales are not the same action or set of actions.  Marketing is letting others know about you, your business, what you have for them, and how you function as a person.  Sales is the consummation of your marketing, after you determine that the other person actually needs what you have and the other person determines that they need whatever you have.  Do your marketing right, and sales will follow; people will actually ask you to sell them what they need.  This happens because you schmooze, not sell, when you first meet others.

Ever tried this process, or do you start to sell the minute that you meet someone?  How is that working for you?  Try this process and see how it flows for you.  Then give us your comments here for everyone to share, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Your prospects will appreciate you more for the fact that you care about getting to know them and what they need.  Your sales, and referrals, will be better, easier to get, and more abundant.

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