Making connections with others is an essential part of growing your business and continually moving it forward. It is in your best interests to master this skill, which involves much of what you likely do already. Tap into your social/personal side and have fun connecting with others. Many of these connections will help lay the foundation for a more definitive business relationship.
- Keep the greeting short and natural. Whether you are meeting in person, on the phone, or via social media, make sure you greet him or her with a brief and natural exchange of introductions. Some make the mistake of launching into some kind of sales pitch right from the start, which is almost a surefire way to make sure the other person tunes you out. Greet the person as you would anyone else, keeping it short, to make a solid first impression.
- Stay humble and approachable. You’re without a doubt a busy person, but adopt an attitude that your door is always open for others to approach you with whatever they may need. Avoid the common mistake of trying to impress others with your business owner status; you may unknowingly come across as conceited instead. A humble person is almost automatically likeable, and you’ll get much more of a response from others when they feel you will welcome their questions and concerns.
- Focus on the other person, listen, and then reply naturally. Focus the conversation on the other person’s interests rather than your own. People generally respond very well to sincere attention to themselves. Carefully listen to what they are telling you and reply naturally where appropriate. A good idea is to find some common ground to help make your connection. When you do, remember to refocus the dialogue back on the other person. He or she will come away with the impression that you truly listened to them and will remember you in the future.
- Be yourself. People can see through a fake demeanor, which is an immediate turnoff. Know your strengths and use them to socialize and build relationships with others in your business. It is nearly impossible to keep up appearances that are not based in reality anyway. Embracing who you are, faults and all, will only benefit you in the long run.
- Find out as much as possible in the given context and time. Evaluate the situation to figure out what you can actually accomplish in your exchange. If you are running into an acquaintance at the supermarket, chances are you don’t have a ton of time to have a long conversation. However, if you are in a scheduled meeting with someone, that might be a time when you can delve a bit deeper. In any situation, find out as much as possible to help you focus your efforts in connecting with the other person.
- Don’t try to sell anything or yourself. Your ultimate goal may be to acquire a new client or pitch a new product, but while making that initial connection is probably not the time to do so. Without a good sense of who you are and the knowledge that you are interested in them, people won’t want to listen to you go on about what you’re selling. Your main objective is to make that connection now, so you can have a contact later on.
Making connections can be a fun skill to practice, as it allows you to learn about others and yourself. Being yourself and listening to others are the two most important ways to do this.
How do you make connections? Please comment below with your ideas!