So here’s the deal. Today I had the pleasure of hosting about 50 B2B professionals in a very traditional way. All come together, all give their elevator speech, all swap cards and hand germs then leave. In defense of this event it was the first one and not many people knew each other so there was a lot of sell, sell, sell …
A conversation with a young colleague later in the day brought up some valid points and lead to this short article. These are points I have addressed previously and likely will again every couple of years or so. In fact they are so deeply planted within me I often forget these are things that have to be learned. In this article, however, I want to hit the prickly points instead of the high line. Perhaps you may recognize yourself in these and, if so, please find professional help.
These points apply to online networking as well as traditional, toe-to-toe, marketing and as always your input is invited.
Show up and immediately start pressing palms and handing out your business cards. If you were a dog this would be the equivalent of weeing on everything in sight. Make sure you give the other person the impression what you do and why you are at the event is much more important than anything they have to say or offer. After all you’ve got to sell a bunch by lunch and be a winner by dinner so sell, sell, sell!
Show up late and leave early. After all you are a very important person and only have time to breeze in for your 60 second elevator speech and to get your name on the roster for attending the event. Seriously, milling around with the little people takes so much time and leads to so little … unless they are lauding you. Small talk is for small minds, right?
Butt in to conversations that seem to be taking too long. Don’t you just hate it when someone gets to your target first and just blabs and blabs and blabs when you have something highly important to say? For Pete’s sake they ought to know you have something vastly more interesting to say. Besides you have to get back to your private jet to fly to your private yacht to sail to your private island. That is, after all, why you’re at this business mixer – there are bills to be paid!
Make sure to help the person you are talking with finish their sentences. See you already know everything they have to say anyway and you just need them to hurry up and shut-up so you can say what really needs to be said. Besides you’ve been practicing and they are holding back your chance to give an impromptu speech loudly enough to be heard by the room.
Relate everything said back to your business. Who cares that the other guy just won a Nobel Prize, if they don’t have your hunky-dory new social super-spam device they can’t possible succeed with whatever they are working on next. Oh, and the kid who invented the self-heating socks for the elderly can’t possibly market without your sparkly paper fliers so you’ve got to make sure he buys right now – it simply cannot wait another moment!
Okay Mr. Smarty Pants, how should it be done? How about this:
Be genuinely interested in what others have to offer. After all if you refer a client to them chances are they are going to really REALLY remember you.
Lift others up. Have you used the services of someone else at the event? Use that as an opportunity to tell others about your experience. It will make you a cool person.
Listen more than you talk. Many years ago a sales trainer said to a small class I was in, “if you’re talking your selling but if they’re talking they’re buying.” Makes sense.
Don’t be in such a hurry to make a sale that you blow your career. Need I tell the story of the young and old bull? I think not.
So how does this relate to social? Simply parallel. Comment as much or more than you write. Listen as much or more than you talk. Share links, give +1s. It doesn’t matter if you think those things are hokey, it matters what the other person thinks. I recently gave a +K to someone because they really did say something about their field that impressed me. I had no idea how appreciative they would be. Try it, you’ll find that yourself.
Be graciously grateful in all things. When I was a missionary the words my mother taught me as a child stayed loud and clear in my mind, “be more gracious and grateful in your receiving than you are in your giving.” When someone gives you a kudos or a congratulations and you say, “aw, thanks man. It weren’t nuthin'”, you just cheapened their gift to you. You don’t have to paint their house in return for a thanks but don’t cheapen it either. Which reminds me … giving back is what you do when you get something you didn’t earn in the first place. “Giving back” cheapens the sacrifice others make to pour into the community or the lives of others.
Just some thoughts of mine. Now yours …