I was recently asked one of those questions that really make you go hmmm! The question was to do with how marketing was like a sport. I did not have much of a response at the time. However, after thinking on it for a while I started to see some similarities, especially where business networking is involved.
You need to learn how to play the game
Many businesses fail to generate sales opportunities from networking because they do not know how to play the game. They see it as a form of selling when actually it produces much better results when you see it in terms of marketing. You are promoting your business through word-of-mouth and you are discovering opportunities through word of mouth. This also includes online conversations via social media.
If you do not know how to play the networking game then your business could be at a big disadvantage in a world where the power of social networks are getting many big corporations very worried.
You need to work on your game
The core skills of the business networking game include the way you interact with people, the way you communicate your message, and the way in which you leverage your network of contacts. Like in sport, you need to work on improving your skills and the people who get the best results are the ones who take the honing of their skills seriously.
You need to have an edge
If you want to win in sport you need an edge over your competitors. The same is true when promoting your business. If you do enough business networking you will soon find there are plenty of other people promoting similar products and services to you and saying similar things to you. Specialising in a niche or even better, a micro niche, will give you the edge you need and will significantly increase the quantity and value of sales leads you generate.
You need to keep score
In sport the Pros not only track their wins and losses. They also track other statistics relating to their activity and performance. In business networking the things to measure are not only the business you win and lose but also activity statistics relating to the nurturing of relationships and expanding your quality network of influential people.
You need a support team
Finally, most sporting superstars and winning teams will say that they could not have achieved their levels of success alone. There are always people behind the scenes, such as a coach, to ensure that the person out front is performing at their best and wins plenty of gold. The same is true for business networkers who often need to fit in business networking alongside other business activities.