By Dave Sherman
Have you ever wondered why most people feel they must always discuss business when they’re attending a business networking function? What do most people enjoy talking about more—their jobs or all the things they like to do outside of work? I think most of them would prefer talking about their hobbies, vacations, families, goals—almost anything other than work.
The best part about talking about all the things that have absolutely nothing to do with your job is the connections you will make with others. If you are struggling to connect your business with someone else’s business in conversation, then you had better come up with something else to talk about very quickly or your conversation could be very short and uncomfortable. I have made more connections with others based on their hobbies and outside interests than what they do for work.
Another thing you need to remember is that people do business with people, not companies. Think about your accountant. If she was part of a large firm and decided to leave her current firm to go to work for another firm, would you just say, “It’s no big deal. Please just assign me another accountant”? I strongly doubt it. You would follow her wherever she goes because of the relationship you have with her and the connection you spent so many years developing.
Another example is your hairstylist or barber. If your hairstylist decided to change salons, would you follow him or her? I’m sure many people would. If you’ve ever seen a picture of me, you know getting my hair cut isn’t a big deal since I have so little of it. When my hair stylist changed salons, I started driving more than 40 minutes each way to see her. Why, you ask? Is it because she is the only person who can make me look good? No! It’s because of the relationship I have formed with her over the past 15 years.
This might be a very long-winded answer to a very simple question, but you need to take the time to learn about the person behind the business card. If all you ever talk about is business, you’ll have a much harder time developing relationships with others. We aren’t what we do for a living. It’s just a job. Find out who a person really is—not just what they do—and you will have a much greater likelihood of creating a solid connection that will, in turn, help your business.
Dave Sherman is a national sales trainer in Phoenix, Ariz., and a world-renowned marketing expert. For questions or comments, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-920-8700.