10 differences between selling and networking
Networking often has a negative connotation. This is because many salesmen abuse networking to sell.
The main difference between selling and networking is that in a sales process the goal of the interaction between two people is the sale of a product or service. When networking, this sale could be the consequence of a contact that is built with respect and care. Hence, it is clear that the sale is not the goal of networking.
The comparison below goes into the details of the difference between selling and networking. The table shows several elements of “negative networking” by hard sellers and “real networking”.
|Hard sellers who network …||Real networkers …|
|1. Are focused on the short term||Are focused on the long term|
|2. Try to detect a need that can be satisfied by their product or service||Share any information that can be interesting for the other party|
|3. Only give when they have an immediate profit||Give without expecting something back (and in the long run, this usually pays off better too)|
|4. Listen in order to get the deal||Listen to help|
|5. Ask questions in order to be able to position their product or service better||Ask questions to be able to be of better assistance|
|6. Find people interesting only if they are a potential customer||Find everybody interesting as a contact. You can never be certain of who they know and what they know.|
|7. Want to collect and distribute as many business cards as possible||Ask and give business cards to people with whom they really made contact.|
|8. Talk often only about their product or service without listening to others||See to it that others always talk more than they do, listen carefully to them, and encourage them to tell more|
|9. Try to bring attention to their product or service.||Recommend products or services of people in their network (and only if they are relevant for the people they talk to)|
|10. The goal is the sale. People are a means, a resource (sometimes even a necessary evil) to reach that goal.||The goal is to establish and maintain contacts. One of the possible consequences is a sale.|