Small Business Today Magazine JUL 2014 PHENOMENAL PRODUCTS - Page 35

EDITORIALFEATURE Converting Contacts to Customers:  Part 1                      By Gail Stolzenburg L ike most entrepreneurs, I went to my first networking event with the idea that I would collect a lot of business cards of prospects for my business.  I approached the attendees with information on my products, my company, and myself, thinking that they would be excited about an opportunity to purchase my products or services.  What a rude awakening when I found that most people were just turned off.   It was a paradigm shift learning to begin by giving referrals or other gifts rather than asking for them.  I heard Zig Ziglar say, “You can get anything you want in this life if you just help enough other people get what they want”, but I was unaware that it applied to me.  One of the top sales trainers in the world, Brian Tracy, used to focus on the best closing techniques.  Now, he focuses on building trust and rapport.   There is a story about two radio stations.  The first is KIAAM and it stands for “Keep it all about me”, one of the biggest mistakes made in networking.  The other station is WIIFM which stands for “What’s in it for me”, what the person you’re talking with is thinking.  A good practice is to write out your anticipated conversation before networking then count the number of times you write “I” and “We” and change them to “You”.   One of my mentors, Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, says we should be listening 70% of the time and only talking 30% of the time.  And, the 30% of the time should be spent asking questions.  Some of the questions I ask are:  “What got you started in that line of work?  What do you enjoy best about it?  What is your greatest challenge?   Where else do you network? Is there someone here who you would like to meet?  What would be a good referral for you?  How do you market your business?  Would you like to attend other networking events?  I publish a list of networking events; would you like for me to send you that list?  I sub- It was a paradigm shift learning to begin by giving referrals or other gifts rather than asking for them. scribe to an e-newsletter with valuable business building tips at no cost; would you like for me to send you the link?”   After learning something about each other, we can decide if we want to continue the conversation by setting up a meeting.  The cardinal rule of networking is to never try to sell someone, just share information and see if there’s a reason to continue the conversation later.   After saying hello, the most asked question is, “What do you do?”  Most people say they are a banker, realtor®, insurance agent, salesman, etc. and the conversation stops.  That is what they are rather than what they do.  To keep the conversation going, I use these magic words from best-selling author and networking trainer Tom “Big Al” Schreiter:  “Do you know how…most busy entrepreneurs have little time for optimum health?  Well what I do is…show them three ways to get and stay healthy in 15 minutes a day.”  You can develop your own answer by just filling in the blanks.   Would you join me in committing to never “upchuck” on someone while networking?  In our next article, we will cover what you can do and say at your first one-to-one meeting to begin converting your contact to a customer.   Gail Stolzenburg, Chief People Connector, can be contacted by email at, by phone at 281-4931955, or visit his website at [ JULY 2014 ] 33