“Career Growth - Business Growth”
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Do You Think Networking Works?
Relationships and Dollars
I was at a regional trade show a few years ago one spring with about one hundred other manufacturers reps. Customarily one night during the week of the show about ten of us would get together for dinner at a local steak house we really enjoyed. This particular year we were having a drink in the bar while we were waiting for our table. I notice a fellow new to the group sitting off to the side so I went over sat down next to him and introduced myself. We chatted and I learned he had just joined our rep. association and this was his first show with this group. We talked about what lines we represented and how the show was going. I could gather from our conversation that he knew how to sell and close the deal.
Three weeks later while I was on the road I ran into him as I was finishing an appointment with an account. Then I ran into him about two weeks later again, so I knew he was out in the field hustling. A small manufacturer of knitwear contacted me asking if I would be interested in selling their line. I had to turn them down because I already was selling a line of knitwear and there would be a conflict. So I gave them the name of the new fellow I had met and told them I knew he traveled and that their line would fit in great with the lines that he was selling.
The next fall again I ran into him out on the road (He traveled as much as I did) I asked if he had picked up the line I referred his way. He said that he had and that he was doing well with it and thanked me. The next February completely out of the blue I got a call from him telling me that he and his wife had decided they were moving to California from Minnesota. He had already picked up lines to sell in California. He told me that he had been repping a long underwear line in our territory and that even though they were small he felt it was really going to grow quickly. Would I be interested in picking up that line? I told him I would that it wouldn‘t conflict with my other lines and would actually compliment them. “Good!!” He said “I already lined it up with the company that you would take over and you will receive a draw against future commissions to build sales for the line.“ I about fell off my chair.
Well it did grow and grow rapidly! Over the next eight years I made over $700,000 in commissions from that line of long underwear. All that from talking to a new guy in a bar!!!! Just be careful you can’t spend all your time in a bar.
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