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Avoid This Networking Blunder: Don’t Ask This Question!

Have you ever been out networking, meeting and greeting, and towards the end of your conversation with someone, they ask you, “So, how can I help you?”  What’s worse, have you been asking that question to people that you meet?

That is a dangerous question to ask for a couple of reasons.

One, it might be a clue that you may have been making the conversation all about you. The general rule of thumb is that a good networking meeting will consist of discussing yourself thirty percent of the time and engaging the other person to talk seventy percent of the time. If a conversation has been going great and that question pops out, perhaps you have been talking more than listening.

Two, if that’s not the case and they have shared a good bit of information about themselves or their business, it indicates that you either don’t truly understand what problems they face, or you don’t have a clue as to how you can help them.  Either way, it’s not good.

In the first instance, not only can it totally breaks rapport, but it puts the person on the spot and places them in a situation where they’re supposed to figure if and how they fit in your business model, instead of you focusing on the problems they encounter, understanding their needs, and showing them how you might be able to help.

Alternatively, if you do understand the problems they face, but still ask them how you can help them, you run the risk of appearing like you don’t know how to tackle their issues which is not likely to foster trust and ruin your credibility as an expert in your field.

The reality is, if you have been asking questions, getting the other person to speak to you and been engaged, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of their problems and challenges. People more often than not, will tell you at least a couple of areas where they can improve something in their business.  From there, you can pretty easily determine whether or not you can help that person.

If it’s a good fit, fantastic, forge ahead, but if you see that you cannot or do not know how to solve their problems, add value by connecting them with someone who can.  After all, that’s what networking is all about!

Do you have some networking tips?  Share the wealth!  Comment below!

Are You Making This Sales and Marketing Mistake?

Ask any small business owner what they would most like to have in their business and they more than likely will respond with, “more business!”

We all want clients calling and walking in the door with orders in hand. That’s why we engage in the game of sales and marketing.

So, the question is:  Are your sales and marketing efforts working? Have you dumped thousands into a website, social media, and print advertising over the years with little return on investment? If so, what caused the sales and marketing failure?

You might be focusing too much effort on sales and marketing and too little on prospecting. Prospecting has to come before sales and marketing. It is a small distinction that will make your company money.

Here are some examples of marketing versus prospecting.

Using Neuro Linguistic Programing NLP in your sales communication makes a difference!Some activities that define marketing in your business might be sending out email offers, writing e-books, posting on social media sites, writing a newsletter, creating video or audio podcasts, attending networking events, reviewing and updating your website, distributing fliers, handing out business cards or other print advertising and doing some public speaking.

Prospecting by comparison is about making a personal contact with someone. Cold calling, email solicitating with a follow up phone call the next day, following warm leads from client referrals, calling previous clients asking for referrals, and stopping by businesses in person to solicit  business.

Prospecting is being face to face (or phone to phone) with someone to see if they are a good prospect to start and market/sell.

Prospecting needs to come first because having qualified prospects will allow you to get the most out of your sales and marketing budget. 

You can work all day on creating a kick ass website, writing phenomenal content, and having an online presence, but at the end of the day if the phone doesn’t ring with a sale, there is no new business.

That small distinction between marketing and prospecting may seem trivial but it’s not.  Often success comes from a small distinction that creates a massive shift in results.

Making sure that prospecting is part of your daily routine will shift your sales and marketing’s effectiveness. It is the critical step to getting every small business where it wants to be:  having clients and customers walking in the door with orders in hand.

5 Communication Blunders Guaranteed To Torpedo your Networking Efforts



Behavioral assessments and hiring assessments will help you hire the right person for the job for the jobCommunication is everything and yet, it’s so easy to screw up. Sometimes we can fall into bad habits yet still think we are being effective. After all, how tough can it be to have a conversation with a potential client, strategic partner, or colleague?

If you’re married, I suspect you know how easy it is to miss your mark from time to time where effective communication is concerned. But it’s amazing how many times, in our work lives, we torpedo our own networking efforts by making every wrong move as we communicate.

So, for those of you curious about how to keep your business conversations short and unproductive, take note of these blunders!

  1. Talk constantly about yourself. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Make sure that you let them know your entire life history, all of your personal troubles, and how you know everything there is to know about everything. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in you?
  2. Talk technical terms to non-technical people. Forget about sounding understandable, focus on sounding intelligent. Trust me, your audience will be thoroughly impressed with your depth of knowledge even if they are clueless as to what you just said. So make sure you go for that “deer in the headlights look” as you speak to them. Be sure and lose them in the conversation by overloading them with jargon and technicalities.
  3. Link everything they say to your own situations. Take whatever they are communicating to you and make sure they understand how it is the exact same thing that happened to you in the past and relate that experience to them. Make sure they remember that when it happened to you, it was ten times worse.
  4. Immediately tell them what they should do. It is always effective to jump straight to problem solving. Especially when they have not finished telling you all of the circumstances of the situation. That way, you can be sure and show them how smart you are by not having to understand the whole situation before you know the solution.
  5. Multi-task during the conversation. Nothing is more effective to let someone know how important they are than to interrupt the conversation to multi-task. Make sure you finish that email –they won’t notice anyway, keep your head down at your computer screen, and stop the conversation to see who just called or texted you.

So there you have it, the top 5 ways to make sure you effectively mis-communicate on the job.

When you master these steps, you will be very successful at keeping your conversations short and to the point. People will stop walking up to you at networking events or dropping by your desk for support, and will leave you alone. Not particularly effective in creating successful interactions with others, or growing your business, but great if you’d like a bit more time for personal reflection on how to communicate better.

For more tips and strategies about increasing your communication skills and personal effectiveness, go to www.evolutionforsuccess.com. James Murphy is a personal development expert, as well as a life and executive coach. He can be reached directly at 919-745-7569As Featured On EzineArticles

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