I’m Not in Sales so I Don’t Need Networking

I’m Not in Sales so I Don’t Need NetworkingIf anyone thinks this way, then they don’t get it. We’re all in sales. Some of us make our living selling services or products but don’t let anyone kid himself or herself that they don’t sell. So can a non-sales person follow a formal and disciplined process of networking?

What about the person who has an “inside” job or position? In other words, they don’t have direct sales responsibilities or quotas. But aren’t there times when they need to sell themselves or the project they are trying to get funding for or to get the other team members to go in the same direction or find outside needed resources they can trust? They need to be networking with their subordinated, peers, and their managers.

I call this “Internal Networking.”

I will be giving a speech to the Product Management Institute of Nashville. The first thing I asked the coordinator was whether the audience was in sales or marketing. “No, he said, they are project managers.”

Well, I felt a responsibility to tell him that we approach networking from a sales and marketing approach. He told me that his members needed to hear about networking and went on to explain the internal networking opportunities they face each day.

So I thought a lot about it after our conversation. I decided that our approach to networking could be adapted to the folks who don’t do sales or marketing. We may just need to tweak the process a little bit.

What are some of your thoughts on internal networking?

I’ll stop here because I thought of something I need to talk with my wife about. Perhaps I’ll start with my elevator speech and hook her into having dinner with me where I can sell her on taking an expensive cruise.

Good luck and good networking.


2 Responses to “ I’m Not in Sales so I Don’t Need Networking ”

  1. November 18, 2013

    We (people) have a need…to be in relationship with someone before we trust them enough to do business with them. And there are different levels of relationship in the wide “sales” world–from order takers, to sales requiring high levels of trust.

    Either way…attempting to “network” should really be understood as developing a friendship. It’s through friendships that companies form and thrive. It’s through friendships that customers stay as customers for decades–and for even 100+ years. (Think bourbon barrel vendor relationships.) It’s through friendships that the powerful become more powerful.

    It also applies to the internal “customer.” Developing internal friendships–where you get to know them, discover their competencies and develop trust–makes it easier to work together well.

    Whether external sales, or internal collaboration–we prefer to work with people we like and trust.

  2. November 19, 2013

    Stew, this is a great piece. I constantly see individuals commit workplace suicide by their lack of internal networking ability. We can so quickly forget that this “internal networking” drives our relationships and our excellence in the workplace. I love the challenge of winning over peers or those that may report to me in some manner—they can often hold my fate in their hands when I need support the most.

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