📄 How to make enemies and alienate people
Saw two examples of how to network with people, at an event in Málaga a few years ago.
One example was good, and the other one was disastrously bad.
Here's what happened: Before the socialising part of the event, each of us got one minute to pitch our business from the stage, and so I was up there as well.
Afterwards, I was approached by a Spanish business owner, dressed to the nines in a flashy Flamenco dress.
Where 'approached' is a euphemism for 'accosted'.
She came up to me, introduced herself, and without a pause launched into an aggressive salespitch that just wouldn't end.
How her co-working space is this and that, how there’s seminars, and amenities, and a virtual mentoring programme... on and on. All the features and benefits, from a firehose. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
Not even to say that I had no need for any of it, because at that time, my friend Antonio was running his own co-working place, and I got everything she offered, and more, for free, at his company, each time I'd be in Málaga.
It was silly to pitch like that, because her approach was nothing short of repellent, and she ensured that I had zero interest in ever talking to her again.
Compare that to the second experience:
Guy comes up and tells me that my mini-pitch really interested him.
And, would I mind if he gave me a little feedback, and a tip on how to improve my presentations?
Look what he did there: he built rapport (in a sincere way, I could tell he wasn't faking it) and then asked me permission (always good to ask people for permission) to give feedback.
Next he told me something useful, and invited me to stay in touch, effectively selling me on liking him, and on being open to meet with him again.
Obviously, he's hoping to get business out of me at some point, and I don't mind: every business owner is always looking for clients, or should be.
But the way he did it pulled me closer, whereas the lady drove me away.
The moral of the story:
No matter how good your service or offer or idea might be, you can't ever rely on your reasoning, or your pitch, or the benefits of your offer, to pull the other person over the line.
Your pitch might work for this person, but not the other one.
And it's on you, as the seller, to pay attention to the individual in front of you.
Ms. Flamenco could have created a great conversation, if only she had registered that I was feeling uncomfortable, and was not engaging with her. But she was too busy making it all about herself, and in business, it's never about you.
It's your job to read your audience, and register whether or not your message is coming across the way you intend.
If it's not, stop the messaging, and start asking questions.
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