Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting up early and going to networking groups here in the Dallas area in order to meet new people in sales, since I’m relatively new to the area. (Don’t get me wrong – I still think these “leads clubs” are utterly worthless for making sales – like I said, I’m just out to make new friends and nothing more!)

I’ve been showing up at sales networking groups, the kind where everyone goes around the room and gives their 30-second commercial, then someone in the group gets to give a 5 or 10 minute presentation on what they sell.

The other kind of group I’ve been going to is where business owners and entrepreneurs get together to network and meet like-minded people. These tend to be more informal – usually evening or happy hour mixers, with no formal “commercials” or guest speakers.

Every time I go to an entrepreneur/business owner mixer, nearly everyone in the room knows who I am. Several people have all of my books and products, and at least 1 or 2 people always call me their hero. They ask for autographs and to take photos with me. Most are very successful, driving brand-new six figure cars and living the good life.

To the contrary, at the sales rep mixers, maybe a tiny fraction of everyone there even knows who I am, let alone has my products. Most are struggling to pay the bills and keep the beater car running. They’d rather spend their free time watching television than learning how to improve their sales skills.

This is exactly OPPOSITE of how it should be!

Here’s the big – very big – difference between these two different types of groups:

The people at the business owner/entrepreneur mixers are making money. Big money. That’s because they never stop learning. That’s why they have all my books, along with other great authors like Jeffrey Gitomer, Napoleon Hill, and more.

The people at the sales networking mixers are usually hungry for sales. Sometimes starving for sales. That’s because they’re showing up at these mixers, with nothing to offer, looking for a free handout of leads. They don’t have my books, nor those of others, because they’re not making an effort to continue their professional education and learn new and better methods of selling. And that’s why they’re starving.

Which category do you belong to?

If you’re in the latter – the people who aren’t selling anything, and, not coincidentally, don’t have my books and products – what’s your excuse?

Do you even have an excuse?

I’m guessing not.

Here’s the thing: Successful people never stop learning. Never. One of the things that seems to impress everyone I meet is that I’m always trying to learn how to improve, and I’m very humble about it. I know that no matter how well I’m doing, there is always room for improvement. Always more to learn from others.

That’s why I bought a Kindle – the sheer amount of reading I do practically necessitates one!

With all that in mind, here’s a question for you:

What are YOU learning – TODAY – to help you sell more?

If you can’t answer that question, then here’s a suggestion:

Go out and buy some great sales books, like the Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer. Get on YouTube and find some good sales training videos, not to mention online forums like Focus and LinkedIn groups where you can discuss your sales challenges with others, and learn how to improve.

Stop wasting your time chasing prospects who won’t call you back. Never make another cold call again. Give up the “leads clubs” and breakfast mixers where everyone shows up, gives their 30-second commercial, and goes back to work empty-handed, with an hour lost from the day to boot. Stop listening to your sales manager – the reason he’s in management and not in sales is because he can’t sell. (Good sales reps make way more money than sales managers.)

Instead, start learning how to market yourself to prospects, hot, qualified prospects who are ready and willing to buy from you – today. Build a presence online. Start blogging. Build an email list of prospects, and send them useful information on a regular basis. Start giving free presentations to groups of prospects, whether you do it as a free luncheon, or you speak in front of local service clubs.

By the way, speaking in front of groups of business owners and executives is REAL networking, not the silly leads clubs!

The list of ways and means of generating hot leads without cold calling is far, far too long to include here – that’s why I’ve written entire books on the topic. But if you start to change your mindset now, away from cold prospecting and toward finding ways to position yourself as the authority figure in your industry and your community, then you might as well start shopping for your brand-new six figure car today!