Connecting Sells More Than Selling Does

Often people tell me that networking just doesn’t work.  It’s boring, or stuffy, or a waste of time.  They’ve been to a few meetings and nobody has hired them, so what’s the point of going back.  But I think these people have missed the point.  If you go to a networking event with the sole intention of selling, you’re rarely going to get any business.  Because who likes to be sold to?  Every now and again you might get lucky and find someone who needs your service there and then, but most people will want to get to know you and suss out if you’re someone they want to do business with.  So what do you do in the meantime?  Do you turn up each month and give the same old spiel?  Hoping that if you say it often enough, everyone will remember what you do when they need it?  Or do you use the time to find out as much as you can about the people you’re networking with and their businesses?  Connecting them to people who can help them?  Sending them articles you’ve come across that are relevant to what they’re trying to do?  Referring them to their ideal customers? Because networking isn’t about selling.  It’s about making connections.  Not just for yourself but for the other people you network with.  And that’s how to make yourself memorable: by being the person who helps other businesses out, by finding them a supplier or finding them business or just remembering what it is they’re looking to achieve.  That’s how you make people feel important.  And you always remember...

Email: A Letter By Any Other Name…

I sometimes wonder if we have lost sight of the fact that we’re communicating with human beings when we use email.  For some reason, we seem to have different rules for writing emails than we do for letters, which are really just another way of communicating something with somebody in writing.  I think some people forget that it’s a real person who will open their communique and try to interpret the meaning and feeling behind the words that they wrote to them.  Other people seem to make it their mission to write as few words as possible: which is wholly unhelpful when you’re trying to figure out what they mean without the context and thought process behind them.  Misunderstandings can arise when you’re speaking to someone, so it’s no surprise to find that a two line email can cause all sorts of problems. We may have invented a more efficient means of delivery than existed even 25 years ago, but the fundamentals of human behaviour and communication haven’t changed all that much.  And as a result, much of the communication advice that’s been given out over centuries, still makes sense today.  Which is why I’m sharing this BBC Article with you.  It’s full of great advice that will not only make your emails more effective, but help your relationships with the recipients too. 10 old letter writing tips that work for emails I love that the second tip, something that I preach constantly, is advocated by Jane Austen, one of my absolute favourite authors 🙂  And I’ll be putting tip number nine into practice because I am forever sending...
What I Found When I Lost It In Paris

What I Found When I Lost It In Paris

If you have to ask the question “Who loses it in Paris?”, then you are either less or more of a control freak than I am.  To be honest, I didn’t think I was one (much), until we took a break a few weeks ago in Paris.  Maybe it was the anticipation.  Maybe it was all the romantic ideals.  Maybe I am, actually, a control freak.  The husband would tell you I am.  Before we go anywhere, I buy guide books (always more than one, obviously), a phrase book and I go online to find out as much information as I can.  Then I spend the weeks leading up to the trip visualising our wonderful holiday: relaxing by the beach, sipping cocktails, eating delicious local food and sampling the local vino, taking trips to the local sites and experiencing the local culture.  Which the husband will tell you is the problem. So back to Paris.  We were there for four nights, so had three full days.  And for one of those days I had a proper vision of what I wanted to do.  It included getting up early to visit a market and have the breakfast of my childhood memories, followed by a meander through the market and on to the restaurant we’d booked for lunch.  I’d then decided where we would go and enjoy the afternoon and evening.  All of which would have been a great plan if we hadn’t had a boozy dinner and stayed out drinking champagne in a Jazz Bar until 2am…  Inevitably we woke up late and hungover and I lost it!  If we...

Magical Stories: Metaphorically Speaking

When you’re writing about what your business sells, it can sometimes feel as if you’re going over the same ground time and time again.  You begin to become bored by the sound of your own voice, repeating the same old message, over and over, and can only assume that your reader is feeling the same way.  So what can you do if your dilemma is getting your message across without it sounding tired or like a stuck needle on a vinyl record? The trick to maintaining interest is to tell your story and show your reader why you’re the person to help them, in different ways.  This helps potential customers to find the cues that are relevant to them and their unique situation, as well as helping them make connections in their own way: which is much more powerful than when they’re told what those connections or areas of relevance are.  One way to do that is to use metaphors. A metaphor is a story that helps us see our situation differently because even though it isn’t about us, it, or parts of it, are relevant to us. They can take many shapes and sizes, from a short one-sentence to an involved story.  Metaphors work on our subconscious and help us to see things differently, make sense of situations, get out of ruts, and solve problems.  Metaphors can be constructed but the most powerful ones come from our experience and observations.  Here’s an example. Two Trees Recently, when walking up and around a beautiful hill in the Highlands of Scotland, I came across two trees.  Both had been cleaved...

The Crucial Element Of Emotion

In A Nutshell Great screenwriters know how crucial emotion is to the success of a movie.  And it’s equally important when you’re writing for your business.  If you want to be memorable, keep your potential customers hooked and build up a loyal customer base, you should be aiming to hit all three emotional levels.  To do that you should let your readers experience what it would be like to do business with you before they do; help your customers to relate to you; and aim to keep your customers curious and interested in what else you have to say. The Whole Kit And Kaboodle The key to a great movie or television programme isn’t the characters, the plot or even how the whole thing is structured.  These are all important, but there is an ingredient missing.  An ingredient that’s so important, that even if everything else is done well, you’ll still emerge from the cinema muttering that that’s two hours of your life you’ll never get back.  The ingredient is, of course, emotion.  Great screenwriters don’t just focus on what their characters feel; they focus on how that will make the audience feel.  And what the audience will feel is the most important aspect of all. And it’s the same when you write for your business.  How many times have you come across a website and just immediately clicked away?  If you want people to read what you write, then you have to pay attention to how you want your customers to feel when they read what you’ve written.  If you want them to feel bored, then list a...