Sales vs. Promotions, Pricing Your Goods , Customer Relations, Price Points, Selling on Online Auctions, Selling From Websites, Selling At Craft Fairs, Selling At Home Shows, Selling To Stores, Attitude, No Money Down Advertising, Independent Sales Reps, Customer Referrals, Gift Certificates, Be Customer Driven, Keepers, Mail Campaigns, Payment Types, Packaging, Bargain Selling, Basics of Selling, Working With Non Profits, Start Up Fees, Start Up Inventory, Competing With Imports, Calling New Businesses, Preparing for Sales Appointments, Sales Appointments, Teaching, Selling On Consignment, Selling Gifts, Doing Business Online
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Sandra J. Paluzzi
Did you ever notice how people are friendlier this time of year? Perfect strangers wish each other happy holidays and smile at each other. This season is just the perfect time for you to practice approaching people.
Striking up conversations with strangers will help you a great deal in business. A solid business maxim is that people do business with people they know, people do business with people they like. So you have got to become known to many people.
Right now you're not going to try to sell anyone anything. You're just going to try to break the ice. Of course, it is always good to wear a piece of your jewelry in case someone comments on it. And I am sure you always have a bunch of business cards with you. But your purpose is not to sell. Your purpose is to get comfortable initiating conversations with strangers.
Where do you find strangers? All around you, of course. Just smile and say hi to that person walking towards you on the street. Strike up a mini conversation with the person behind you in the grocery store line. Amiably chat with the person looking at the same department store sales rack. There are several opportunities to try reaching out to people.
The conversations should be inane and cheerful. Smile and make a positive comment. Everyone loves a compliment so try to find something you sincerely like about the stranger. Great dog - what kind is it? Cute kid - looks like a handful. Nice piece of jewelry - where did you get it?
These short conversation starters will train you for formal networking and sales. You will get all different kinds of reactions. Most people will smile back and greet you. Some will just ignore you. A very, very few people might be mean to you. But the vast majority of the people will be very friendly and idly chit chat with you for a while.
If you're extremely shy, start with the easiest group to approach - dog walkers. People constantly comment to dog walkers both on the weather and on the dog being walked. These people are used to being approached and usually enjoy the small exchange of greetings. Work your way up to store encounters. Soon you will feel free to start talking to others in a variety of social situations. Maybe you are not at all shy and think you don't need this exercise. For the most outgoing of you, I pose a real challenge - start talking to someone in an elevator. There's just something about being alone with someone in an enclosed elevator. People stare straight ahead and say nothing. Break through this taboo and stretch your boundaries. You will find the world more enjoyable if you feel free to express yourself in small ways and share the cheer within you. You will also be preparing yourself for networking meetings and sales. Next month we'll discuss communicating in a formal networking environment.
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