Networking with Larger Companies

People who are trying to network with larger companies sometimes tell me they find it hard to reach the decision-makers. They get frustrated because the mangers and buyers don't network - they send their sales people to find and meet with the managers and buyers in your company.

So the question that these B2C sales people ask is "Where can I network to meet these buyers so I can sell to them?" A problem with this approach is that networking is not selling. If you go to networking events to sell - especially to larger companies when you have a longer cycle on your product - you are going to feel very frustrated. Remember the old adage that no one likes to be sold, but they like to buy and add the corollary that buyers don't like to network if they're just going to be sold.

Another problem with this approach is that if people go to events to network (not sell!) larger companies but they will see more of the one person businesses they feel that they are wasting their time. This is a problem, too. First, there are simply a larger number of smaller businesses and so they will have greater representation at many events. Second, if you overlook that Mary Kay representative or that real estate agent, you might miss the fact that their husband or wife is an owner of a large consulting firm or is the HR manager for a law firm. Oops. Wouldn't you feel silly if you missed out on a big sale because you couldn't be bothered to get to know someone like that?

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