Like all Intellects, Networkers can be misunderstood and their value underestimated. Remember, more than 90% of projects fail on the people dimension. The Networker is keenly attuned to the people dimension, 24×7. Early in our work with teams, there is a tendency for our clients to conclude: Networkers are the team cheerleaders. While it is true that organizations with too few Networkers are unhappy or even angry, calling the Networker a cheerleader misses the value of the heavy lifting they do.
Networkers get underneath and manage each stakeholder’s perception of and expectations for all work and work products that are created – before they are created, while they are being created, and after they are created. Perception is reality. If your customer does not perceive the value of your work or working relationship with them, you have no value and are vulnerable to price battles that kill margin. Customers who perceive value in your product/service and the business relationship you have established will offer your company additional opportunities, in advance of the competition and even provide critical insight necessary to win profitable engagements. Networkers create preference that shortens the sell cycle and increases win percentage in established accounts.
During sales cycles, Networkers line up decision dominos. They mentally gauge who is with us and who isn’t and why. They look for people who influence decision makers both positively and negatively. Unlike other Intellects on a sales pursuit, the Networker never takes the formal ‘decision makers’ as the sole target of selling activities. If that group isn’t helping the team win, the Networker actively seeks out and draws in other influencers, often from their stable of already established relationships.
The Networker more than any other Intellect has the best information on how the customer perceives the competitor as well as our own company. This is critical information to develop a winning sales strategy, one that will defeat our competitor’s strategy. Drawing out hidden agendas during the sales cycle, the Networker helps the team craft personal wins for individual buyers. These ‘wins’ create pull for our solutions, momentum toward the close.