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Give a Little to Get a Lot

15 Jul, 2003 By: Jay Wallus imageSource

Give a Little to Get a Lot

A few years ago, I
attended a networking event where, despite my best efforts, I was unable to
schedule even one appointment. There were plenty of prospects, but my sales
techniques just weren't working.

I finally thought I
was getting somewhere when I found myself in a corner talking to a lawyer about
of the benefits of the new MFPs. "Here's one of my cards," I said.
"Why don't I call you and we'll set up a time to see one of these things in
action. Is Tuesday at 2:00 or Wednesday at 11:00 better for you?" Before I
could even pull out my planner, I received a quick, "No thanks, we're all
set." Without another word, the lawyer was gone, having swept past me with
the speed of an NFL running back.

This was only the
first of many disappointments that evening; something had to be wrong. I knew it
was possible for salespeople to get referrals from people they met at networking
events. I was doing all the things I was told to do-keep asking, go for the
appointment, be persistent-anything to make the sale. But the only thing I seem
to be making was enemies with this approach. There had to be a better way.

When I asked some
friends about their sales achievements at these networking events I was shocked
to find that they weren't any more successful than I was. One of them actually
told me he went because of the great chicken wings they always had. It's no
wonder this guy works a second job at Home Depot on the weekends.

Giving Advice
Anyway, I stopped going to networking events for a couple of weeks. It was
during my hiatus from these events that I wound up discussing my problems with
an experienced sales executive I knew and admired. After relaying my tale of
rejection and unfulfilled dreams, the executive let me in on his secret.
"You just don't get it kid, do you?" he said. "I was just like
you; always trying to sell people stuff and never getting anywhere until I heard
Zig Ziglar's motivational message while driving to an appointment. He said that
the way to get what you want is to help everybody else get what they want."

The executive
explained that it was at that moment that he stopped trying to sell people stuff
and decided to help others sell more of their stuff. He said that when he called
on prospects and they had no interest in his product, he now began to mention
the products/services of his newly found colleagues from the networking event.
In other words, if you don't need what I am offering you, I have friends in many
businesses who may be of service to you in some other capacity. Not everyone had
a need but the ones who did, trusted his judgment and were willing to take a
call from the person he had referred to them.

This was a true
win-win situation. The prospect now knew that the executive was trying to help
them in their business and his newly found colleagues appreciated the referrals
that were given to them. The real winner was ultimately for the executive who
received all kinds of referrals from the same companies that he was sending
business to.

Implementing Change
Armed with my new knowledge, I decided to try this approach in the very next
networking event I could find. Instead of going from prospect to prospect asking
for a business card and an appointment, I started telling them that I was a rep
in the copier business and wanted to know how I could help them in their

By the looks on
people's faces, you would have thought someone had just handed them a million
dollars. "You want to help me grow my business?" was the typical
response. "Absolutely," I would say. "Let's meet over a cup of
coffee this week and you can tell me who you need to meet in your business and
I'll make some phone calls and see if I can help you with that."

I met with four
people that week and was able to introduce all four to clients or associates of
mine that I felt could help them. Two weeks later, all my hard work began to pay

I began receiving
referrals from both the companies I helped and the companies I had referred. At
first I received one referral per week. This eventually climbed to two referrals
per day, everyday! And, these referrals were not just warm, they were hot. The
referrals I received were for people who were in the market for a new copier,
knew that I would be calling and were told I would help them.

By taking the time
to help guide potential customers instead of harming relationships with pushy
sales strategies, you will find that giving a little can get you a lot!

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