The shape of your network is a key driver of your career. Do most of the people you know already know each other? Then you’re a “closer”. On the other hand, if you know plenty of people who don’t know each other then you’re a “broker”.
Traditionally, salespeople have been brokers, questing out to meet new customers and being rewarded for their ability to create new relationships. For simple sales conversations that can work well – but for complex sales it really falls flat. If you, or your sales colleagues, are on the phones, cold calling and getting nowhere, this is where you’re going wrong.
Closers often don’t get out and build relationships beyond their own business. But when they do, they have the power to persuade – because they build webs of relationships with prospects, involving them with other colleagues and contacts. While it takes closers longer to build relationships, those relationships last longer and create conditions for trust to grow – vital for complex B2B sales.
We’re all on the broker-closer spectrum, but where on that spectrum you spend your time is a key predictor of your influence in sales, fundraising and recruiting. If any of these aren’t working out for you, you should take a closer look at your network structure and function.
For a great deeper dive, check out Brokerage and Closure by Ronald S Burt. And take our free Personal Network Identity Assessment.