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Networking but not as we know it

Last week i received an email from someone i vaguely know asking if i wanted to attend a Networking event. Remebering that the guy was quite a decent person, i remembered he was quite amuzing, and also very passionate about his computer business i thought i would accept his invitation.

So, i rock up at a local meeting venue all prepared for the meeting, my elevator pitch polished, i had pens, paper, my iPad and business cards, i was ready to go and see if i could engage with some of the other local business people from my area. However, for some reason i felt nervous upon arrival, i looked around the assembled room and my body filled with some kind of dread, i realised that they assembled masses were all local computer guys, not the Social Media Consultants and Web Developer types, more the Hard Drive and Soundcard types.

Rob, the host, quickly bounced over to me, a little bit like an over excited teenager, gleefully shaking my hand, “Rich, what are you doing here?, it’s great to see you, have you got a meeting or something?”, i looked at him quizzically, “Rob, you invited me to your Networking meeting”, he looked at me aghast, “Did I?” he replied, “Rich, i am so sorry, but i think i invited the wrong Rich, i meant to invite Rich from GRO Network Solutions not Rich from the GROWTH….. “, grim reality hit me like a full speed train, “Rob, is this Networking meeting about Networking? all that wired stuff that links computers together?”, he looked at me, “Yup”, we both burst out laughing.

I decided to sit through the presentation to see if i could learn something about Networking, and i did, that being it is best to leave stuff like that to people who know what they are doing, the stuff they were talking about was serious Networking, not just plugging your PC in to get it to connect to the Internet, interesting but mind boggling.

This situation made me think of something we talk about within the Growth Ladder platform all of the time, success is all in the preperation. If i hadn’t fired off that quick, “Yes I would love to come” email whilst running for the train, i would have probably asked about the content of the Networking meeting, and quickly establishing it was not a Networking meeting, but a meeting about Networking.

This situation was akin to the sales pyramid that i first learnt about in my first sales role. Most Sales people will spend 15% of the time planning for a customer meeting, 35% of the time actually in the meeting and 50% of the time trying to negotiate and tie up a deal with their customer, often resulting in not getting the actual desired result, or having to compromise. The best sales people will always flip this model around, by spending 50% of the time building a strong compelling story for their customer, preparing, having all of the facts, the figures and being ready for questions, or even push back, then spending the same 35% of the time in the meeting, but only 15% of the time tying everything up, usually with the best or at least the desired result, as the hard work had already been done. Take this onboard, it is literally one of the best pieces of advice i ever received.

So, the lesson learned, prepare, prepare, and prepare more. Understand what is happening, what your goal is, and even what your customers goal is, and should they ever invite you Networking, then check first if it is Networking, or Networking.

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