Last week, at a networking event, I watched with amazement as a woman interrupted conversations and passed out her brochures to everyone who was there. Unfortunately the trashcan at the exit got to keep most of her brochures.
Similarly, at a speed-networking event, we were allowed 3 minutes each to talk about ourselves with a new partner. I can’t tell you how many times the other person didn’t even get to ask me what I did for a living.
The number one advice I give to clients who are networking or at a pitch is to have what I call Self-Amnesia. Dale Carnegie said that the sweetest word in any language was someone’s own name. Well, listen to the man and stop talking about yourself and start saying the other person’s name more often.
The first rule of business – put others first
As a rule, whenever I meet any new business owner, even if they ask me what I do first, I answer briefly with “I’m a branding coach…What do you do?” Or if I’m making a sales presentation, I talk exclusively about the company I’m presenting to. I talk about their pain and how I have helped other companies in similar pain and what the results were.
I speak only of myself in the context of how I helped solve a similar pain to theirs. I don’t go into why I’m great and what I’ve done that’s great, I get right into talking about solutions specific to their problems.
For example, when I met the owner of a waste disposal company, I immediately asked him what his biggest headache was. He responded with a grimace saying, “I need to grow my sales”. When I further questioned him about whom his ideal client was, the problem became apparent. He said “everyone”. I then quickly told him a success story about one of my clients who I helped niche ruthlessly and who doubled his sales as a result. The speed-networking bell then went off but you can believe he grabbed my card and asked for a meeting afterwards. I never once told him what I did for a living. I simply asked about his pain.
How will your small business grow the next time YOU have Self-Amnesia?