"I don't know what to say."
"I don't know where to start."
"I know what I want people to know about my business. I just can't put it into words."
"I do so many things. I don't know how to talk about them all."
Does any of that sound familiar?
Often we struggle with how to let our prospects know as quickly as possible all the great things we can do for them.
And herein lies the problem.
Going to a venue where you intend to meet potential clients is like going on a journey. If you get in the car and start driving any direction you feel like, chances are you won't arrive at Grandma's in time for lunch! I like adventure. Starting out and now knowing where I'll end up. That's OK if I have unlimited time and resources or I'm on vacation and can be aimless just because.
But taking a journey and intentionally arriving where you want to go as easily as possible, requires some strategic thinking up front about how to approach the journey.
Have you ever been at a networking meeting and got squirreled into a corner by someone who talked non-stop about their business? Most of us have. It leads to what I call the "glazed eye syndrome." After a couple of minutes your eyes glaze over and you're looking over the other person's shoulder trying to find a way out of the conversation.
Now turn that situation around. YOU are the person talking non-stop about what you do. You feel that your conversation partner is responding, making all the right remarks, nodding their heads in an understanding way.
Makes you feel good, doesn't it? You may not notice the glazed eyes. You may even walk away feeling that you've made a new best friend!
But are you really making the kind of connection that lays a foundation of trust so that you can take the next step?
That's the first part of the strategy. Connecting.
What if you turned things on their heads and instead of asking yourself "what do I say about my business?" you start by being curious about the other person. After all, you can't know if you can help them until you take time to discover who they are, explore what they do and uncover the issues they're dealing with.
That's where the journey starts.
With the other person. So that you can decide how you can help them get where THEY want to go.
I believe we start in the wrong place for three main reasons (I'm sure there are more. These are a few that pop into my mind immediately).
- Many of us are starved for attention and acknowledgment. We're not listened to enough. So our normal mode is to vomit all over people about ourselves when someone creates an opening for us. That's a real turnoff. If this is you, find a way to satisfy your need to talk about yourself outside of your business meetings.
- We are so passionate about what we do that we don't see why others don't feel the same way about our service or product. So we let loose on anyone who appears to listen.
- We don't know any better because no one has told us there's a more effective path. But after reading this article, you can do it differently.
There's a time to talk about yourself and what you do. It's just not the first step on the path.
"Be interested rather than interesting."
I don't know who said this. It's worth remembering.
Copyright 2015 Maggie Dennison