Unless you're a student, employee, unemployed or retired, you're most likely a salesperson. However you identify yourself, we're all pitching a product, whether it's something tangible or a service we provide - be it a lawyer, photographer, chiropractor or any startup company. Many times you are your product.
Nobody wants to be sold anything. You don't come home and say with excitement, "Look what someone just sold me!" When you're saving up your money, it's because you "can't wait to buy" whatever truly excites you or it's solved a problem you have. The person who assisted you merely facilitated the transaction. The question is, why did you use them?
Overall, people buy from people they "know, like and trust." If you embody these traits, how do you get the word out that you can help them with their needs? You need a team of advocates who will tirelessly work to promote you, based on the impression and reputation you put forth.
When most people hear the saying "It's not what you know, it's who you know" - they interpret the meaning that unless they have some inside connection, you'll never make it. I see it quite differently and I'd like to teach you what I do, so that you can replicate my success. In my future blogs, I will illustrate example after example of how meeting one person can open multiple doors.
When you hear "networking" you most likely have the same negative reaction as hearing "salesperson." I am a connector, which is a powerful word with positive meaning. Do I use networking as one way of connecting? Certainly. Am I a networker? Not really.
There are certain traits you either inherently have or can work on to acquire. Surprising, being outgoing is not one that you need. Personally, I find it almost impossible to initiate a conversation with a stranger. You wouldn't label me an "introvert" or "shy" by their definitions but I'm not a gregarious, outgoing guy. Yet once you get to know me, you would think I was.
In order for me to overcome this challenge, I set a goal that I introduce myself to at least two people at any event I attend. From those two, I either make a strong connection or am introduced to someone else within their circle.
I'll give you my ten rules for plugging into success. If you follow these consistently, I can almost guarantee you growth in your business, your circle of friends and an increased sense of self-worth.
1 - Don't be judgmental
If someone looks significantly older or younger than you, don't dismiss them. You're in the same room with someone for a reason, don't second guess it. Introduce yourself and ask what brings them there, not "What do you do?" They, in turn, will ask you the same and there should be enough to start a conversation.
2 - Listen for their name
You know the drill, yet why can't you remember their name? Because you weren't listening. Remembering and using someone's name is incredibly powerful. You're going to embarrass yourself when someone else comes over and you can't introduce the person you've been speaking with. The minute they say their name, repeat it in your head over and over for a few seconds. If you can associate it with something silly or memorable, even better. "Hi, my name is Mark." (Mark. Mark. Mark. Sounds like a dog barking with a speech impediment. Got it. Mark.)
3 - Keep your eyes on the speaker
If you get easily distracted by moving objects (you know who you are), try facing a wall as you're having a conversation. This will limit your eyes from wandering which gives the impression you're not interested.
4 - Put your business card away
Handing someone your card completes the introduction, save it for the end. Start with a conversation and see whether they're "card worthy." If you do exchange cards, actually look at the card. Whether it's the design, their title or the card stock, there's usually something notable you can comment on, which acknowledges your interest rather than jamming it directly in your pocket.
5 - Events are not scavenger hunts
Don't be that person who tries to meet everyone in the room, searching for the instant customer or sale. It's quality over quantity. I would much rather have one long conversation than ten "hit and runs." You are planting seeds, not harvesting.
6 - First impressions count
If you're tired, in a bad mood or distracted, apologize at the outset. "Sorry, I haven't gotten any sleep since our baby was born." It explains your mood and also starts a conversation.
7 - Be genuine
No matter how many people do the same thing you do for a living, there's only one version of you. Your personality is the "like" component of "know, like and trust." Whether you're a good listener, funny, smart, good conversationalist - be real and open to anything. You have no idea where this could lead.
8 - Be a resource and share your knowledge
I'm a very loyal person, yet when I'm asked for a referral for a certain service or profession, I give three sources. You're not responsible for the decision made but you can give your resources equal opportunity for exposure. When I meet a "one-off" - someone who does something unique, I don't keep them a secret. Become known as the person with a contact for anything.
9 - Don't underestimate anyone
You may be speaking with someone's mom who came to an event to get out of the house. You don't know who she knows. This goes for anyone you meet. You're talking to the person in front of you and three behind them.
10 - Follow up
The initial meeting is just an introduction. If you think there's synergy between you, within 48 hours follow up and arrange a time to meet for coffee. Spend an hour with that person and really have a conversation. You will be amazed how quickly you'll see results.
This is the foundation of how I connect and I look forward to sharing the amazing results of putting these into practice.
Follow Mark Karten on Twitter: www.twitter.com/spacesny