Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:
“Become an astute listener. Listen more than you speak.”
From Renate’s pen to God’s ears! Honestly folks, this doesn’t only pertain to Networking, but to just about any avenue in business, especially customer service.
Seriously though, one of the biggest reasons that Networking ‘fails’ for a lot of people is because they don’t listen!
Yes, I understand that you want to sell yourself, your product or your service. Yes, I understand that you are in a difficult situation, where you have become quite desperate for sales or a deal. That said, if you just talk all the time and don’t give the other person a chance to tell you what they need, or are looking for and are only concerned about what you can give them (irrespective of whether they need it or not), they will walk away and you will have lost the opportunity.
When you ask someone “how can I help you?” you open up the door to a whole host of possibilities. Not only possibilities for yourself, but also for people in your database or your circle of influence. You tell people that their needs are important to you and that you care about what it is that they need or want and not just about what you want to give them. You tell them that you care enough to listen to them instead of talking ‘at’ them and that my friend is extremely important.
So ‘shut up’ for a few minutes. Calm yourself so that you are not formulating anything in your head until such time as they have finished telling you what they need for you to hear – take down some notes, so that you can look back and understand what their needs are – chances are that even if you cannot help them yourself, you can refer them to someone who can. At some point, you too will be referred.
Remember, Networking is about building relationships and relationships can only be built if there is a ‘give and take’ between two people.
For more information on Renate, please visit her website at www.drrentevolpe.co.za