My husband and I have been together for 15 years (9 of them as husband and wife). Not long ago, while traveling, one of my all-time favorite songs came on the radio. It was "Africa" by Toto. I turned up the radio and started singing along. My husband said, "That's one of my favorite songs!" Of course, I was shocked because, first of all, I didn't think that would be his style of music and I thought we had been together long enough for me to know that little piece of information.
So where am I going with that story? The point is even though my husband and I have been together for more than a decade, we are still building our relationship as a married couple and as friends. I still learn new things about him which keeps things interesting.
So how does this relate to business? In order to be successful in business you must focus on building relationships with others. It starts from the moment you meet someone. My husband and I didn't meet and instantly fall in love. We were truly strangers because we met online and it took time to get to know whether we were compatible or not.
Every stranger you meet has the potential to have some sort of relationship with you---whether it be as a love interest, friend or customer.
Here are some tips for turning strangers into potential customers and building on the relationship:
SMILE: I can't tell you the number of times I've had strangers smile at me. It's a wonderful form of nonverbal communication and can open the door to some engaging conversation. Besides, smiling makes a good first impression!
Speak to EVERYBODY: I've been told quite often that I never meet a stranger and that's true. I'm a communicator and I will talk to anybody. Now you may not be as outgoing as I am and that's okay, however, in business you need to get in the habit of saying hello to people you come in contact with. A simple "Hello" can lead to awesome future business opportunities.
Don't Take Anything PERSONAL: If you smile or speak to someone and they don't acknowledge you, don't worry about it. You are not responsible for what's going on inside their head at that particular moment or they could just be hard-of-hearing.
Network, Network, Network! That doesn't mean you have to go to every event in your community. Be selective. But when you go, make it your business to connect with someone you don't know and if you see someone you know talking to someone you'd like to meet, ask for an introduction.
Mix Pleasure with Business: People are more inclined to do business with those they know, like, and trust so if you spend your time talking about what you do for business, chances are you'll be talking to deaf ears. If I spent my time just talking about5LINX, I'm sure I would be avoided like the plague and word would get around fast to stay away from me. Building relationships with others means getting to know someone beyond what they do. It is in the "chit chat" that you discover what else you might have in common.
Be a Good Listener: Once you open the door of communication make sure you take the time to listen to what the other person is saying and ask them questions about themselves instead of making the conversation all about you.
Don't Hesitate to take the Lead on Striking up a Conversation: There's an old saying, "He who hesitates is lost." If you choose to sit back and wait for someone to come up to you to start talking, you may be missing out on a potential new customer and possibly a new friend.
When you allow yourself to interact with strangers beyond the traditional "shop talk" you may discover you're in a win-win situation.
Beverly Mahone is a veteran journalist, job coach and entrepreneur. In addition to working for the media for nearly 30 years, she has also appeared as a guest on numerous radio and talk programs including MSNBC-TV and the locally-produced My Carolina Today. She has been featured in the New York Times for her first book and has written four books total including the Amazon Best Seller, How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder. She has written for, or been covered by, the Huffington Post, Forbes, Bonkers and Newsweek magazine.
Currently, she is on a Reinvention Journey with 5LINX ….
"I am excited about the new opportunities that await me and I am always looking for business partners who want to make money, help others SAVE money and do it all while having BIG FUN! If that’s you, let’s travel on this journey together."