I was given a gift recently: a spot in a 3-day sales seminar. I was both grateful and apprehensive about this gift. I knew I had to learn more about sales - after all I own my own business and without increasing sales my business will fail. But I was dreading it. I hate classrooms and lectures and I really hate SELLING!
And so many of us feel that networking is about selling ourselves.
Selling to me was about being pushy; about hype; about forcing yourself and your services on people who would much rather be doing anything else than listening to your sales pitch.
What I found out was both extremely valuable and reassuring. There are all kinds of selling techniques and styles and I can use - skills I already have. The seminar was not only helpful, it was enjoyable. The interactive process created community and helped us experience the lessons by doing in a safe environment.
In fact, almost immediately I was able to put in place things I learned: how to frame the information, how to communicate value, how to listen better, how to respond calmly and knowledgeably to objectives, and how to use stories and dreams effectively.
Rather than putting on a suit I knew would be uncomfortable, I found out I simply need to be myself to be a better sales person.
This lesson can easily be applied to networking as well. Be yourself. Listen, find out what's important to the person you're talking to. Be honest and candid and if you can help, offer it.
No one really wants to be sold - on anything. No one wants to sit through your sales pitch - in their office or at a networking event. Find common ground. Give something of yourself away as well. And listen.
Look into the Dale Carnegie seminars to see if they offer one that might be helpful to you (classes in San Francisco.)