By Andre Bourque
Potential clients and partners notice when your actions prove you mean what you say.
Every entrepreneur who has started a business and succeeded has one particular skill that guaranteed his or her business would thrive: Put that entrepreneur in a room or gathering — anywhere people can hear or see them — and they will be the most memorable person in that location.
Did they dance on tabletops or make a spectacle of themselves? No. What they did was become a magnet.
Become a magnetism expert to attract business.
Shy people are often the most attractive in a crowd. They’re used to listening. People like to tell their stories and have someone pay attention.
Learn how to ask open-ended questions that require more than yes or no answers. Show real interest and you will find people are excited to speak with you.
People will find you disarming if you just speak to them like you would to a friend. Ask them why they came to the event. Ask them what they do at their company, what their company does.
If you are listening, through their answers, you’ll get a sense of the type of person they are. You ask yourself if you could enjoy doing business with them? If they are the kind of person you would want to work with in your business–they’ll most likely want to do business with you too. Take their contact information or card and offer yours, if you wish to.
It’s all in the perspective. Sometimes, it’s a matter of vision.
An old parable talks about three people who are involved with a construction project. The visitor asks the first worker they meet what they are doing. The worker responds, “I’m laying bricks.”
The second person asked responds that they are building a wall. When the visitor asks the third person what they are building, the answer amazes them. “I’m building a house where a family will nurture children, seek shelter, and enjoy growing old together.”
More and more, businesses are finding the value in a story. A story will draw people to you and to your business. Have a cohesive narrative about yourself that you can repeat in just a few sentences.
Find the nugget of importance in the people you speak with and you will be memorable. What is most important to them?
What goes around, comes around.
At a recent chamber of commerce meeting, a lawn sprinkler came on suddenly and splashed an attendee. Instead of being angry, she asked the groundskeeper what was happening.
The man was new at his job yet he was determined to fix a system that had left the lawns in bad shape. The previous owners of the property had not kept up the maintence that goes along with ownership.
After an informative discussion that showed the groundkeeper’s extensive knowledge, the woman went home and called her friend, a reporter. “Hey, they’re fixing the golf course. There’s a story there.”
Everyone will win in an interaction like this. You can be the magnet that makes this happen at each event in your life.
The reporter had a story, the groundskeeper felt good about what he was doing, and the woman was able to spread good news. Of course, the woman handed her card to the groundskeeper.
You cannot know who might be able to refer friends or business contacts to you down the road. The woman was particularly happy because she learned the best tree to plant where nothing seemed to grow.
The object of the effort.
Idly spending time without a clear-sighted effort is not the way to network. The better way to network is to scope out who is expected to attend, speak with a number of people, and do not pounce on a prospect.
If you can join a group–if their body language looks open; that they are not shutting out others–and listen, you might be able to learn who might turn into a good contact later.
Sending those people a simple email commenting on how interesting what they said may end up being a start to a business relationship.
Once back at your office, take the cards you’ve collected and add a quick note saying where you met and any relevant details of how you can relate to them. “Town meeting, son in Little League,” with the date, could be sufficient.
Then, follow up in a couple of days. Leave them an opening to get back to you when it’s convenient for them, with no obligation expected. And, if you promised to provide a contact or information, definitely follow through and show how reliable you are.
Say anything. When you act and prove you mean what you say, you might win a friend or client.