Leave A Strong First Impression…

Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you, and whether or not they will do business with you, within the first few seconds (yes seconds!) of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Ensure that your first impression is a good one by paying attention to the following:

Maintain a strong and straight, yet flexible posture. You are a human, not a statue.

Offer a firm and gracious handshake.

Smile and maintain good eye contact.

Open your shoulders to the person you are sharing a conversation with.

Listen 2x more than you talk – be curious about them and their world.

Go Grow!

 

Cultivate Personal Relationships To Develop New Business…

We all despise “networking” – right?! The impersonal, sales-focused meetups. The forced small talk at conferences and trade shows. It’s all terrible. And for one simple reason: People are selfish. Networking fails when you focus only on yourself. Why would you ever want to spend time in a room full of people only looking out for their own interests?

However, you don’t hate spending time with friends or socializing. You want to spend time listening to them, because you know they’ll listen to you afterwards. There’s meaning and depth and understanding and connection within personal friendships.

So, what if you could make all your business relationships “personal”?

Rather than asking “who can help me?” ask “whose business circumstances and outcomes can I advance?” Reframe your “business development” efforts to “cultivating personal relationships”. It’s powerful. Because by virtue of reciprocity, those people will then form a deeper connection with you and will want to advance your outcomes.

Be Genuine When Developing New Business…

I’m in the process of selling my condo in Midtown Atlanta. It’s a hot market, and I’ve been inundated with residential real estate brokers calling me to offer their services. It’s been insightful and engaging for me to observe their individual approaches in trying to win my business. I “do” business development for a living, but I’m always learning, and this process has really opened my eyes to what sellers are doing to win new clients. It’s borderline unbelievable. It reminds me to continue to stick to the basic fundamentals of gaining trust from a prospective client. “BE GENIUNE” – if you are cold-calling someone, be honest about why you are calling. I’ve had numerous brokers call me to say they are working with a buyer who is interested in my condo, only to find out that they don’t have a buyer and really just want to be my listing agent. How are we going to work together after you initiate the relationship fraudulently? The brokers who have been honest, brief in taking up my time, and helpful in educating me are the ones who are rising to the top of my list as people to do business with. In my business, I predominantly help architects win new business. I make a lot of cold and warm calls. It may be boring when I call to simply “check in” with a prospective client to see what’s going on in their world or to inquire about one of their development projects – but I’m 1. Honest about the nature of my call, 2. Brief, and 3. When appropriate, I follow up with something educational or helpful to them.

Professional service firms often get stuck in a rut about how to develop new business. There are many B2B sales training programs out there that are heavy on gimmicky words and processes. Stick to the basics: be helpful, trust-worthy (honest), organized, educated, stay tenderly-tenacious, and most of all be GENIUNE.

Go grow!

Being Likeable…

Many people think being likable only belongs to a lucky few: the good looking, the social butterflies, and the highly talented. Likeability has nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive. Likability is all about sincerity, transparency, and being capable of understanding (another person). In reality, being likable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence.

Likability is powerful in business and in developing new business for your organization. When you build your awareness of how your actions are received by other people, you pave the way to becoming more likable.

Be passionate: People gravitate toward those who are passionate. Likable people are serious, yet friendly. They get things done because they focus on having meaningful interactions, remembering what people said to them both professionally and personally. This shows your prospect that you see them as a person, not just as your next sale.

Ask questions: People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening but that you also care about what they’re saying. You gain respect, trust, and appreciation by asking good questions.

Be friendly and considerate: People avoid those who push their own agenda or are desperate for attention. Being friendly and considerate works. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, people are much more attentive and persuadable. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude (sincerity, transparency, capacity to understanding other’s needs).

Be open-minded: If you want to be likable, you must be open-minded. Open-minded people are approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to do business with someone who has already formed an opinion and is unwilling to listen. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes and understand what their needs are and what makes them tick.

Go Grow!

Four Steps When Troubleshooting…

I feel lucky in business because I’m the one with the birds eye view on my clients’ organizations. It’s easier to see internally issues playing out when you aren’t in the “box” of their world. When you are internal to the organization, troubleshooting is one way to see more clearly and helps in identifying root causes and fixing them. You can think of troubleshooting as a particular mindset in which you ask a series of questions in an attempt to gain a new perspective on a business problem you may be having. It’s extremely helpful to be curious and open-minded, rather than quick to judge or show up in the “know it all” version of yourself.

Sometimes you find out what you thought was problem actually wasn’t at all. 95% of what we worry about isn’t even true. Our perception about an issue is often clouded and inaccurate. Meditation and yoga helps keep a clear mind… just throwing that out there! The troubleshooting mindset can be applied to all sorts of problems.

Four steps when troubleshooting:

  1. Is there an actual problem? Before you start solving a problem, make sure that the thing you are are solving is actually a problem. You can do this by defining and clarifying the problem. Is it simply annoying? Not necessarily a problem. Is there a clear threat to your business future? Definitely a problem.
  2. Isolate all distinct parts. After you’ve determined that you definitely have a problem, it’s time to isolate all distinct parts. Hats off to engineers – they typically are very good at this kind of stuff! In my business world, I often see clients reluctant to do certain things – adhering to an annual plan or budget and networking are often reoccurring issues when working with clients. The isolated parts on networking would be: pressure to be on billable projects, not seeing the benefits of networking, having fears about networking, preferring to spend their time in a different way, expecting other colleagues to do it, etc.
  3. Testing. This is about taking each isolated part and testing it. In my example above, I’d be asking my client to be honest about their resistance in each component. We would narrow down what they are specifically having issues with. From there, we see the root cause – let’s say it boils down to feeling pressure to be on billable projects. We see they could delegate more to their junior staff, and that then frees them to network occasionally.
  4. Course correct. Finally, we continue to course correct on a regular basis to ensure any other issues are properly addressed at the root level.

Rather than make assumptions, it’s good to implement the troubleshooting process in any area of your business or life. You get to the root cause on issues and can then take the right steps to modify. It becomes easier the more often you practice.

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