Q: If I have multiple businesses, which one do I pitch?
A: Three businesses is just like having three products. Ideally those products relate to each other some how. If they don’t, you might want to figure out why not. The most effective thing to do is create a brand for the umbrella of all your businesses and focus your pitch into one message that aligns all three. Think of the different businesses as departments within a larger org. structure. What ties them all together? If you are the only thing that ties them together, then you might consider branding yourself. If that’s not an option, then listen to the other person first. Ask filtering questions to figure out which one of the businesses the other person is closest to, then pitch.
Q: What do I do if the other person keeps dragging on about things I don't need to know?
A: You can’t control the other person and what they talk about, but you can re-frame the context, change the subject or exit the conversation.
Re-frame: "Excuse me, I’m not following you. I understand you are in sales, what do you sell and who is your ideal client?"
Change the subject: "Interesting, I can tell that you are very knowledgeable about car tires. Next time I need them, I will contact you. Do you know anyone who needs (insert the problem you solve)?"
Exit the conversation: "It was nice meeting you. I’d like to connect with a few more people before I go home tonight. If I meet anyone who needs what you have, I will give them your card."
The key is to have a clear emotional tone. You can think of this as the weather of the conversation. The tone you send out effects how others feel about what you say. Just relax, stay calm and focus on maintaining connection.
Q: What do I do when people can not understand my dialect?
A: Hire a dialect coach. Actors and actresses work with dialect specialists so that their tone of voice is believable in the movie. Without that training, the movie would be a flop. Same goes for business. If the people that you need to connect with can not understand you, your networking will be ineffective. An effective business person is always developing their communication skills to keep them in shape. This is an area where you need a specialist. There are also online resources and recordings you can purchase. (If you are a dialect coach, contact Jenn and we will insert a link to your business.)
Q: What do I do if I don't like small talk?
A: Create better goals. Without goals, you quickly run out of things to talk about. I help my clients script their elevator pitches and the first thing I have them do is try it out and bring me back the feedback. Within those conversations is a wealth of information about how relevant your communications are. When my clients come back they report on if the message landed, how they felt about it, the questions that came up during the communication. Effective communication is an iterative process. With strong objectives, you don't need small talk because what you do is relevant to others.
And, sometimes you need small talk. Here's a tip: do some research before you go out to the event. What's going on in the news? Did something funny happen to you this week? Are there events coming up that you are excited for? You don't have to make small talk about the other person. Small talk is usually just filing time between getting to the point.
Q: How do I network if I'm not really interested in the other person?
A: Focus on your goals. A good networker is trying to make connections. The Confident Networker is focused on building connections for that are helpful for everyone they connect with. Think of it as the game Go Fish.
You say, “Do you have any three eyed salmons?”
The other person says, “no.”
You say, “Do you know anyone who has any three eyed salmons?”
The other person says, “Yes. Let me introduce you to Sally.”
It really can be that simple. When you’re done, move on to your next connection.
Q: How can I network with people if I don't have anything to sell?
A: The true definition of wealth is that which you possess that helps others. With that in mind, the more connections you make for others, the more central you are to the network and the more influence you have. You can network just by asking others, “what do you need and who can I connect you with?”
Q: How do I be consistent about going out to network?
A: Find enjoyable events and find a wing man or woman. I attend the Women’s business exchange monthly breakfast because the women I ladies are encouraging and generous. Therefore, I’m make time to go their 7 am monthly event. Another thing you can do is find a wing man or woman to go with. Split up and play a game of divide and conquer where you work together to meet everyone in the room. (p.s. I've never played this game but would with the right wing person.)
Q: What do I do when the other people aren't interested in what I'm talking about?
A: Create a better presentation. If you are talking to people who need what you sell and you aren’t connecting with them, then you need develop your value proposition. Just because you are good at what you do and know your products doesn’t mean you are a great presenter. When I work with clients on this challenge, we work on three things:
1] Words that are easy for people to remember
2] Confidence and clarity of emotional tone
3} Strategic timing
You are trying to get other people to duplicate an idea in their mind's eye. You need to command attention and keep them engaged in you long enough for what you are talking about to register in their mind as relevant to them.
Q: I often find that I have a problem with remembering names, maybe you have some tips on that? I do remember them and what they say. Except for names, that I often forget.
A: Dale Carnegie tip: Associate the name with something similar. I met a man, Levi. The aloud I said, "like the jeans." Now, when I see him, I have an association in my mind by which to recall him. Another example, I met a man, Patrick. I said, "like St. Patrick's Day."
Q: I had many positive contacts at networking events and such, but few that actually lead to an email exchange, or other follow up response, even when the other person ask me to contact them. I guess that I am still unsure of how to know if someone in the US mean what they say, or are just saying something to sound positive, or to be nice in a "US-style" way?
A: I'm not sure if it's a US-style thing, however, I have found that many people are not comfortable speaking directly. Lead the experience by speaking directly to them. Say, "I would greatly appreciate your advice. May I take you out for a coffee next week? I know you are busy, I promise to keep it brief."
Your directness will reveal their sincerity. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need, but get to the point and make a specific request.
Q: How different are the approaches in personal, operational and strategic networks?
A: The purpose of a network is to establish and maintain connections throughout a system so that it can move information. As The Confident Networker, you'd approach building connections in the exact same way. The differences would arise out of personality quirks, communication styles, and technical details that can interfere in the establishment of a clear connection.
Q: How can I network with others when I do not know anything about them and their interests?
A: Asking them questions about who they are, where they come from, and what they are interested in. People love to talk about themselves once you get them going.
Q: What are the ways to make an efficient first impression in networks?
A: Know your brand. When you are clear about who you are and the unique value you provide to the community, then you can make choices about image and communication that signal to others that you are who you say you are.
Q: I do different things in my business. I am a performer, a voice teacher and a diction coach. But I don't overwhelm them by pitching all three at once... Is there a way to handle this situation in a smart way?
A: Ask filtering questions to narrow them down into one of your three offerings. Once you've identified where they fit, then pitch. The most effective thing to do is create a personal brand that focuses all three pitches into one message. It's good to listen to others, and you want them to remember you. Make it easier by having one message to promote your business and different offerings for deliverables.