Know. Like. Trust. I’ve heard those words frequently in recent meetings. Last week at a networking session, the speaker talked about the importance of those words and how they relate to networking. The next day during a webinar about selling skills, those words came up again. I too have often used them in presentations when I’m talking about relationship building. They are three simple words that can improve business relationships significantly, but alas, are often forgotten.
Have you ever attended a meeting or a networking event and you feel like you stumbled into a card game instead? You know what I mean – you sit down at a table and someone starts dealing business cards to everyone at the table. They haven’t even asked your name or looked at your name badge – they simply hand out their cards and start their pitch (cue the gong or eject button – wouldn’t that be great to have available?!). Same holds true for an event where someone approaches you with an outstretched hand that has a card in it. Really?
Let’s back the bus up here – people do business with those they know, like & trust. If you try and start a relationship with me without getting to know me you’ve missed the boat. Let’s start with names and small talk before jumping in. Why am I here? Do we know anyone in common? Do we have similar interests?
I had a very satisfying appointment with someone yesterday. It took a good 20 minutes before we even got to the “what do you do/how can I help you” questions, as we spent the first part of the appointment talking about traffic, where we lived, why we chose to live where we did, if we had mutual connections – it was casual and comfortable. We were establishing a rapport, seeing what we had in common and figuring out if we could move to the ‘like’ stage. Then we started asking questions that were work related, but still focusing on understanding the other person and how we could possibly help each other. It was a two-way conversation – much different than the usual one-way pitches that I run away from!
Let’s elevate the business conversations and get beyond “what’s your company, what do you do, what can I sell you,” and delve into who they are, what are they interested in, and what do we have in common.
When you’re looking for a personal relationship, you want to find out if you’re compatible – shouldn’t it be the same way with business relationships? Ditch the spiel and go for authenticity. This goes a long way to establishing a rapport, a level of understanding and a level of trust. Those are the people I want to do business with.