For many people, going to a networking event is painful. In part because it sometimes feels like people are just handing out cards, looking for a deal. Although I have to say that many of the events I have attended recently I have not seen that.
Another reason that people don’t like networking events is that they are uncomfortable with networking. That is, connecting at a genuine level with someone else to see if there might be a relationship. They don’t know what to say or what to do.
I get it. When I started in my career, I would get my drink and hunker right up to the wall to see what was what. After a career in sales and many years in Toastmasters, I now can have a conversation with almost any willing participant. Here are some ideas that may help you at your next networking event.
First, what is the event and who are the people that will be there? (If you can get their names great, if not, ask yourself what industries are they in, what is the common interest?) Then think through your introduction and practice, yes practice. Trust me when I tell you the naturals were not natural when they started.
“Hi, my name is John Gies with RAS-Squared, what brings you to this gathering of conscious business leaders?”
So, what happens after they have answered that question? There are a few areas of conversation that are always safe to explore at a networking event.
- How did you get involved in… (the industry, their company, this gathering)?
- What kinds of clients are you looking to meet?
- Have you done any interesting travel lately? (If they have they will enjoy telling you)
- Where do you want to go next in your career?
- What books, or movies have captured your interest lately?
- Where do you like to go here in town for dinner, lunch, coffee? (As a coffee lover, I love discovering new coffee shops)
Dale Carnegie said it over 80 years ago, “show sincere interest in others and be a good listener.” This is the way to win friends and influence people.
Once you have made a connection and feel like there is potential, it is time to move on. You can say something like, “I really enjoyed meeting you, do you think we should schedule a call to see if there is a way we can help each other?” Then it is time to move on and make another connection.
I never recommend making a pitch. That is what turns off so many people from these networking events. I once saw a mature sales executive block a potential buyer literally in a corner until he could score an appointment. He got the appointment and I will wager he never got the deal.
Patience… if you make a real and genuine connection and nurture it, there will come a time where they will want to know how they can help you.
So, to recap:
- Know your audience (what is the common interest of the group)
- Prepare and practice an introduction (Your names and a question for them)
- Open a conversation and connect
- Ask and answer the question, “Should we connect further”?
- Don’t make a pitch make a connection.
If you would like to learn how you or your team can benefit from better communication skills for accountability, engagement and performance, schedule a call with John to explore the possibilities. CALENDAR
In a previous post, we talked about making first contact with your ideal clients and how to make a great first impression. Today we’re going to talk about feeling out the personality of your ideal clients to match the right salesperson to the client or prospect.
You need to do this in two steps:
- Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
- Match the right salesperson to your target prospect/client.
There are essentially three different selling personalities:
The Guide brings knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. They can make a concerned conservative client feel at ease. For them to be successful, they want plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible.
Just like it sounds, The Buddy shines at building relationships. They instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends almost immediately. They deliver the best results with clients who are looking for friendship, information, and in a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. This sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, but The Buddy must always keep it professional. The resource’s this personality type needs is help in pairing with the right client, entertainment budget, and the right information to meet the client’s needs.
I had a Buddy working for me. He knew everyone. He made very few direct sales calls. They were mostly entertainment calls where business was discussed. He could get meetings no one else could and he made it rain.
Obviously, The Determined is a little more assertive than the others. They are concerned about business and the bottom line. While this may seem a little direct, there are owners and prospects out there that want the same thing and respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. The Determined will need to be trusted with a little authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. You will want to provide them with plenty of resources and access to products and services. They work best in environments where they can work independently, exercise their independent discretion, and seal deals quickly.
All of these types can deliver the results you need when each is used in the right environment. You can see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more ideal clients and for a longer period of time.
If you need help figuring out how to drive more sales for New Clients, New Revenue, and New Profits, check out the resources at RAS-Squared.com.
When you and I turn our thermostat up or down the equipment kicks in and the temperature adjusts to a nice comfortable temperature. You and I call this our comfort zone. HVAC professionals call this the Dead Zone!
As I graduated from college, I completed my first Five-year plan. Then life happened. I got promoted and if I wanted the job, I was going to have to move to St. Louis MO. (This was not in my plan). I was 24 years old and had been out of college about eighteen (18). I had a core group of friends, and I was comfortable. However, I wanted the experience, And I wanted to be an executive, so I moved 700 miles away to St. Louis, Missouri.
I got there, went to work the next day and …said OH MY Cuss WORDS WHAT HAVE I DONE. You see, I wasn’t very good at my first job in selling, I was lonely, I was uncomfortable and well just miserable…Then I remembered that I liked Tae Kwon DO when I was in school, so I found a club and began to experience some success. I changed jobs into a new industry. I was just starting to get comfortable in the new role when my new company said… “John, we’d like you to move to Denver,” This was in my Plan. I moved to Denver and 5 years and two (2) months after I wrote out that five-year plan, I achieved it. I was living in Denver as a professional, earning more than I had even planned on and I had earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. If I had been unwilling to step out of my comfort zone this would not have happened.
What is this Comfort Zone that everyone talks about? Wikipedia the online Encyclopedia says it is an artificial set of mental boundaries we’ve set up. While we operate within those boundaries, we are comfortable and secure. The result can be that we become rigid, and rule bound by these boundaries. Then, there will come a day when we know we need to change but we will be afraid to leave the comfort of our Comfort Zone and it will become our Dead Zone.
The law of Entropy that says it is the natural order of things to degenerate into chaos or disorder. That’s what happens when we fall into our comfort zones and become satisfied with life. When we don’t continuously push our limits and stretch, we start to move towards disorder.
Here are some thoughts on how you can avoid the Dead zone while enjoying the comfort zone:
1. Recognize it when you are in the comfort zone. When there are things you will do and others you will not and then only in a certain way…it might be the dead zone.
2. Continuously review your progress and decide what area of growth will enhance your life. Right now, for me it is building relationships with business owners in a variety of industries that I have not worked in to help them grow their business. The imposter shows up. And yet I have helped Auto Shops, CPA’s, Attorney’s, Tech Companies and more, significantly enhance their business. And it is still Very Uncomfortable. Studies at the University of Chicago concluded that the highest achievers are those who consistently push themselves out of their comfort zones.
3. When you get comfortable in your new level of performance savor it. Then Start all over again.
When you make the commitment grow and move from one achievement to the next from one comfort zone to the next, you never have time to enter the Dead Zone.
Check out the resources @www.ras-squared.com
Small Business Owners are often reluctant to put a stake in the ground in order to claim their Market Dominating Position. But when they do, their ideal clients start finding them.
Here are Six Steps to finding that strategic position:
- Ask yourself, “will this position deliver a competitive advantage in the marketplace”? Think about how 24 Hour fitness created a competitive advantage when they decided to be open 24 hours a day. They innovated around time and convenience.
- They also built the strategic position into their name (24-hour fitness). They named out loud and everywhere they communicated their competitive advantage.
- Identify the result you want to deliver for your client. Think about how Domino’s Pizza created the result of fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. On the other hand, California Pizza Kitchen delivers gourmet pizza. In the pizza game both pursuing different markets, both creating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
- Now define the process you and your company need to follow to consistently deliver that result over and over again. (Policies, procedures, SOP’s – it is the only way you can grow.)
- How will you control your quality? Document and implement that.
- How will you measure success throughout the process (Key Performance Indicators)
If you want to be able to take a vacation. If you want to be able to have a business you can sell, if you want to grow your business you must create your market dominating position and then document your process to own that position.
Do you want to learn more about how you can create your strategic position check out the resources ar https://ras-squared.com
Last year LinkedIn recently released a report on the top ten job skills employers wanted in new hires. Communication was number One! I could have told you that. Unless you are a hermit or you are truly working alone, your ability to communicate is crucial to your success. Everything you do involves communicating to other people.
- Email ping pong because people are not clear in their emails
- Policies that are not clear
- Quality errors
I am curious. We all communicate, and we have all been communicating since before we were born. Why are so many people so bad at it.
I suspect the following four things:
- Lack of Emotional Awareness
It is interesting to me how many people are not aware of the impact their communication is having on others. They leave an emotional wake behind them as they move through the day, spewing whatever they think of. Or the impact of demanding a result without building the context for their team; The Why?
- Self – Centeredness
This was a lesson I had to learn early in my career. It cost me a promotion and a raise. The principles in Dale Carnegies book saved my career. I learned how to connect with people, how to understand their needs and how to create alignment.
There is an agenda to every communication. The challenge we all face is that because we see the world through our own eyes, we assume everybody else sees the same thing we do. They don’t. When we slow down and as Stephen Covey said, “Seek First to Understand before you seek to be understood,” we get remarkable responses to our communication.
- Not understanding the Chemistry of Communication
The way we communicate has an electro chemical reaction in your body which then produces a response, positive or negative. Just seeing the word “NO” on a screen will release cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals in our body. And as those chemicals reach our nervous system it shuts down and goes into Fight Flight or Freeze. It limits our capacity to think clearly. It reduces our willingness to collaborate.
I don’t think any leader wants their team or customer in this state.
The opposite is also true. When we communicate with the behaviors and language of trust, the body responds with Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin. These chemicals hit the system and open us up to collaboration, creativity, and trust. And it is not hard to do.
Behaviors like a smile and eye contact work remarkably well. Words like, “I trust your judgement, I believe in you,” can do wonders.
- Not having a clear outcome in mind
Lack of clarity is a major stumbling block in communication, especially the important communication. Again, it goes back to our self-centeredness. Often we will have an outcome in mind. And, because the brain is lazy, we will shortcut the communication. A simple example from my workshops is as follows:
John: My wife and I are considering a dog. What would you recommend?
Audience: A Dachshund, Schnauzer, Poodle, Border Collie, A Golden.
John: I forgot to say I am allergic to most dog’s and my wife wants one under 20 lbs.
Audience: A Havanese, a Poodle, A Maltese
As I clarified my desires, I got better results. Think about the projects you assign to your team. Are you clear about the outcome you are looking for?