Ah… my dog Lexi. She is a cutie. You can’t help but love her. She loves all dogs, all people, all children…. but she is a terrible networker. When I take her to dog parks, she often gets growled at, scowled at, and snapped at. She can’t understand it – after all, she is freaking adorable – who wouldn’t love to play with her? What she doesn’t understand, is her approach is terrible.
She doesn’t take into consideration if a dog she is engaging to play with is older, younger, tired, grumpy, scared or bored. Her approach is always the same – bounding up to the perspective playmate – licks their face, bounces around and does obnoxious play bows until they either chase her, or snap at her. If they stand there uninterested, she kisses and slobbers all over them until she gets a reaction – and with older dogs not interested in play, it’s usually a negative one.
The hilarious thing is, I see business owners making the same mistakes my little Lexi does at networking events, and in social media, and I know you’ve seen it too. (or maybe you have gotten a little carried away like Lexi, and have slobbered a bit yourself)
So, what can you do so you can rule, and not drool when it comes to marketing?
Slow down your approach. Sounds simple, but we all get nervous or excited when talking about our products and/or services, and it’s easy to get carried away. Before launching into your elevator pitch, (better yet, ditch the pitch) find out some things about the person you are talking with. Are they married? Do they have kids? What is their favorite past-time? How are they feeling? What important events have happened in their life recently? Ask them questions so you can find out if you should even engage in a conversation about your product with this person. Recently, I was at a networking event and I witnessed a person who sold life insurance start in on a pitch about the perils of not having life insurance – to a person who recently lost his wife. Not cool. Not a good time to pitch. Bad dog.
Not everyone is going to love you… sorry. I know right? This is a hard one to accept, but not everyone is going to be your fan. Coaching is a prime example of this – it’s so personalized, so people really need to connect with you to get behind your service. Not everyone is going to connect with the way I coach. I have more of a practical, non-nonsensical, down-to-earth coaching style. Someone who is looking for more metaphysical, soft-edged and “manifest your destiny” type coaching probably won’t relate to me. Don’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince everyone to like you. You are not always going to be top-dog – It’s ok… Wag your tail, and move on.
Have FUN – again, simplistic – right? But man, oh man, my Facebook feed is littered with people taking their businesses WAY too seriously! If there is one thing Lexi does right – she knows how to have fun. While it’s important to stay professional, don’t be afraid to show your true nature. In social media, talk about your interests. At networking meetings, remember the main reason you are there (and it’s not to make sales!!) – to make connections. Chat with people. Be curious. Get interested. Forget about yourself for a while, and engage with the person who is standing in front of you. Better yet, invite them out to play – whether it be golf, hiking, board games – or a nice long walk.
Until next time –
Hit the Heights!
The Natural Leadership & Business Guide