Basic business principles
I know that business has become more casual in the way that people do business.
No need for full shirt and tie, meet a prospect in a coffee shop, no problem. Email sign off as “cheers mate, chat soon” is also part of it now. I understand the trend towards “less formal” communication but yet there are some basic principles that I think are utterly important to have that we CANNOT compromise on!
When did it become acceptable to put a gmail address on your business card? What does it say about your business? That you are not really professional, that you are not really serious about what you do. It’s a simple thing, but it can have a very big impact on trust.
And it goes without saying that hotmail, yahoo, and any others are also not business accounts, they are personal accounts.
There is so must involved in a simple networking interaction and there are many many books on the subject matter. I’ve noticed a lot of poor networking etiquette that is not doing the person, the company and their brand any favours.
One networker goes..”Can I have you card?”, you reply “Sorry, I only have a few left”.
Essentially you have just said that this person you are speaking with is not important to you! You’re really giving him the 2 fingers. How do you think he feels? Do you think he is going to refer you to a potential prospect down the line? Does that person have good feelings about you and your company? Basic courtesy here is crucial.
Ok, but what happens if I meet a prospect, I need to keep my cards to give to them, to give to this person that actually might need my service.
Come on.. really.. that’s simple. You can take our your phone and either add them on Linkedin, or take down their email address as a note. Or you can say. “Hey, I think I might be able to help you with that project, I dont have any business cards left but would it be ok if i take down you telephone number and email.” Done, easy!
It’s not about you, it’s about them
Remember that business is not about you. It’s about the other person of whom you can help. It’s about solving their problems.
Don’t try and ram your services down someone else’s throat. People are wiser these days and don’t respond well to direct salesy type of communication. Instead, ask them first what they do, dig deeper, be interested in them, and try to figure out their problems and how you can help them. Then your respond to them is tailored and relevant and they might even like what you say.
The basics are to listen first. To use an old cliche. “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that ratio”.
Build your network and make connections. Even if you have nothing of note worthy to say, you should still send an email to that person to say, nice to chat to you. See you at the next event.
But if you want their business, this is a great opportunity to earn their trust. Do some research into their industry, find something that you think is valuable and that they would be interested in. Something that they can do to solve a problem that they have. You are not selling anything, but you are building rapport, becoming a thought leader, and building your case for them to become a client.
That’s all for now
Go get it done!