Friday, February 24, 2006

The Game of Networking… Is it really a Game?

And Can a Professional Sales Person use this Technique to have more Success:FULL Sales?

By Kevin Barrett

I had a question posed to me today…. That inferred that “Networking” was really a “Game” and you need to know the rules of the Game to play it…

Or in the words of Kenny Rogers’ song, “The Gambler”…. “If you are gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right…..”

So is networking a “Game”?…

And is “Sales” a Game”?

I would tend to agree with that term, but not so much from the word itself, but from the emotion that is invoked from the participation in the act of Networking and Sales.

A “Game” is “Participation”, the act of playing.

I have spent most of my life traveling for business making connections world wide and developing friends on a Global basis.

Some of these connections have lasted a week, some have lasted a life time.

ALL have had a meaningful impact on my life and those that I have interacted with during those “Connections”.

The emotion that drives me in this “Game”, is “Excitement”… another word that covers the feeling is “Enthusiasm”….

It is the same feeling I experienced on each and every trip I ever made… “Who am I going to meet?” and “What great things will we accomplish, together?”

I also find that I have two distinct networks…. One is my close sphere, friends that I am in daily contact… friends and family where we share a deeper bonding….this sphere has a deeper involvement… and it is one where I can more readily see a positive impact from the relationship. (This can be on-line and off-line)

The other sphere are “Connections” that are there… occasional but none the less important.

In business, I teach companies that they are to develop what I call a “Loyalty Ladder” of Customers, not just a “Revolving Door” type business. To develop this “Loyalty Ladder”… they must have “Open” regular communications with their customers.

The same hold true for “Networking” and developing the “Connections”….

My challenge is this, “How, Kevin can you maintain “Open” Regular communications to nurture these “Connections”?.
How do I come to grips with maintaining this growing “Network” of “Connections” that I would like to grow into “Friends”?

In a Communications Model, derived from the field of NLP… out of the millions of bits of information that we are processing at any one point in time….

We are only able to be consciously aware of 7 +/- 2 bits of information.

The rest is handled below our conscious level of awareness.

I use the analogy of our Conscious Mind and Unconscious Mind, as a means of describing my growing Network….

I have 7 +/- 2 connections that I can concentrate on at one time… I guess these are the intense, in depth relationships…..

The others are there, just below the surface…… to be accessed when required…. Either by me or by the other party.

So much more is below the surface than above the surface.

I also know that when a connection is formed, with in us as a human, the stronger the emotional attachment associated with that connection, the easier it will be to access that in the future….

So, with “Networking”, I am aware that to have this “Connection” be meaningful, I must be the one to form a strong link…. Not the other person…. Although the strongest connections, are when each person takes care of their end of the link…..

For example, I have not had “Open” regular communications with people over the last so many years…. And when we catch up…. It is like no time has passed… we pick up where we left off…

Developing a Global network takes active involvement to develop… it takes a commitment to the “Long Term”….

And most importantly, when do I listen and respond to the urging of my Unconscious Network to make a Conscious connection again…. Just to say hello….

In business, I recommend effective use of emailing to maintain "Open Regular" communications with clients and customers...

These can be "Automated" and "Personalized" at the same time... and I have been using a product called Mailloop 6.0 Pro to accomplish this.... The product is truly amazing at keeping in contact with my sphere network, just below the surface.... (click on this link for more information Mailoop 6.0 Pro)

In addition in it is important to recognize that every connection is meaningful and can be profound.

The importance of this was etched into my mind… no my spirit…. At a very young age…

When I was growing up every summer vacation my family would go camping at a State Park in Finger Lakes region of New York State. Always a lot of fun.

When I got to High School age, it was also fun… there was always the opportunity to meet girls from all over the country….

In my 2nd year of High School, I invited a Football buddy of mine Mike.. to come along..

Every night we would invite all of the people we had met to my family's campsite and we would Sing around the campfire…. Good memories…

There was a particular girl, whose name was Mary… everyone was calling her “Crazy Mary”… She was an attractive girl, and was always by herself and had a sad look in her eyes….

My friend Mike and I were walking along the beach and as we passed Mary some other people were shouting there is “Crazy Mary”…

Well, I followed Mary back to the Cabin, she and her mother were staying in and started talking to her…. She was a nice girl… just very lonely and sad…. I then asked her mother if it was ok if Mary came up to our campsite that night to sing along with us…

Mike my friend and I would walk her up and walk her home…. Mary had a great time, and I remember that the group of us…. 6 or 7 of us… were singing all the way back to Mary’s cabin…. Yes there was a full moon that night…

That was the last I ever saw of Mary…

4 months later I received a call from Mary’s mother… to thank me for what I had done for Mary… I don’t know all the details, but Mary’s mother told me Mary had tried to commit suicide, before going on that camping trip… she had been having trouble fitting into a new school, and not feeling very good about herself…

That one night, with us, changed her perspective on herself and about life…

The interesting part is I don’t know what caused me to follow Mary back and talk to her and her mother… I was usually a pretty shy person… maybe it was the sadness in her eyes or the pain I saw….

But I did and I moved out of my comfort zone and “Connected”….

It taught me, that every “Connection” is important…. And we may never know the impact that “Connection” might have….

Our responsibility is to make it a positive one… no matter how brief….

Hopefully, it provides a different perspective on the “Game” of “Networking”…

And how we can turn this into an effective “Professional Sales Technique”.

Or is this just the “Game of Life” we are talking about?

Kevin Barrett

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