Whether you are selling life insurance, annuities, Medicare plans, dental insurance, or simply your own expertise, business happens at the speed of trust.
If there is no trust, no value, no genuine connection, or no synergy, all the dinners, ball games, and golf outings in the world aren’t going to change those relationships.
That goes for business socials (golf outings, fundraisers, company outings) or social or semi-social situations (out to dinner with another couple you’re getting to know, seeing those you see every week at your kid’s sporting event, family barbecues — depending on your relationship).
Here are some suggestions to help you do everything (or at least most things) right when looking to transform social situations (or business socials) into business relationships.
1. Start by introducing yourself.
I know this seems obvious but this obvious first step can be daunting to some. At a golf outing or other business social event not introducing yourself would be weird so this is probably not an issue. But how about that other dad you see every week at your son’s soccer practice that seems like a nice guy? Or the cheer mom that’s always complimenting your kid on her tucks? Introduce yourself and start asking some general questions about the kids, the other parents, other activities, and maybe work life and see what happens!
2. Understand networking.
It’s not just about handing out business cards and discussing the awesomeness of your products and services. There might be some of that (the awesomeness thing, that is) when the time is right but remember, you shouldn’t be pitching your services to those you meet at an event. Or those you share a golf cart with. They’re not your prospects. Unless they tell you they are. Networking is about learning and potentially helping people – build their business, hire their next employee, or land their next job. Or helping with whatever. If you help others, they tend to help you right back. As a friend of mine says, “I think they call that networking!”
3. It’s about THEM.
Always focus on learning about the other person until they start asking questions about you. Typically, I don’t talk about myself unless someone asks me a specific question. The exception might be if something just happened in my world that I’m excited about and want to share. If something is going on in your business or even personal life that is so exciting that others will relate or be interested in hearing, feel free to share. But remember to shift gears and start asking questions about them. By being interested you become interesting!
4. Be a connector.
As you’re learning about people you meet, think about who you can introduce them to that will help their cause. Some brokers you work with (and those you’re looking to work with) may have a niche in let’s say the manufacturing industry. Maybe you know the VP of operations for a manufacturer and can provide an introduction.