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Networking 101 – The Win-Win Situation

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The term ‘win/win’ is being bandied about quite a bit of late, but what does it really mean and is there such a thing, in reality?

I know that I use the term quite often, and it certainly makes sense to me, but that is my perception and my expectation. What about the other person? What if they do not see it as a ‘win’ on their side? What if they do not see whatever it is that I am ‘putting on the table’ as a win – is it still a ‘win/win’ or is the reality that there is a loss somewhere?

If I had to be brutally honest, I would have to say “Yes”, absolutely yes, there would be a loss! How could there not be?

I guess that this is where the saying ‘it takes two to tango’ is really profound! You see at a Networking event, if someone cannot see the benefit of their being there, they will not work at it, and no matter how many meetings I set up and no matter how excited I get on their behalf, if they don’t work at it from their side – nothing will happen.

The majority of people who go to networking events, go there specifically to ‘sell’ their service or their product. They are usually the most disillusioned of them all because the reality of Networking is that they are highly unlikely to ever make a sale.

Occasionally someone will go there because they are looking for a service or product supplier, however that is the exception rather than the rule. These people usually have a bit more luck, because there might just be the kind of service and/or widget that they are looking for. But what happens if there is no-one there offering the specific service and/or widget that they are looking for and they too go home empty handed? Well they also become very disillusioned to.

The person who is the most successful of them all at Networking, is the person who goes there to meet people and build relationships. Believe me the sale of the product or service will follow, but the relationship has to be built first.

So where is the ‘win/win’ situation in any of this. Well it’s really quite simple and I can’t for the life of me understand why others just don’t get it. If you and I are in the process of ‘building a relationship’ (or already in one for that matter), every time I (or you) speak to a prospective client, we will listen carefully, not only to what that prospective clients wants from us, but also what that prospective client needs. One of those ‘needs’ might just be something that you can provide.

The ‘win/win’ (which is you and I looking out for business opportunities for each other – not just ourselves) has just become a ‘win/win/win’ because – I have secured work and given value to the prospective client, you have been given work by the prospective client, and the prospective client has had all of their needs fulfilled. How cool is that and more importantly, how easy was that.

So what is your interpretation or perception of a ‘win/win’ situation in Networking or are you one of those folk whose expectation is all about ‘what’s in it for you’?