In a coaching conversation:
‘What did you talk about in the meeting with that new contact?’
‘He gave me advice.. he was like a coach.. he said I had to sell myself better.. he said I had to be clear about my career path.’ (Sounds like he wasted the meeting. The reason to meet wasn’t to get mentoring! It wasn’t to get advice! Pity. It was a promising lead. In the company he wanted, in the area he wanted, in the profession he wanted.)
‘What was the purpose of the meeting?’
‘It was so that he could give me advice on my past interview experience, because I applied for a few jobs in his area in that company but never got anywhere further.’
‘You only have one objective in every meeting. The objective is to let the other person know about who you are and what you can do, so they can tell other person about you. For example, I have this pen in front of me. If I don’t tell you about it, are you going to be interested in it?’
‘Because you don’t know what it can do. How about if you tell me about something that you love? Somewhere you love to go, something that you love to do?’
‘You just told me you love scotch. Which is your favourite?’
‘Balvenie!’ (This time he took half a second to come up with an answer!)
‘It’s delicious, it’s smooth, you can drink it without ice. It’s sweet but not
‘How easy was it to tell me about it? How much did you feel like telling me? From 0-10. 10 is “I wanted to tell you”, 0 is “I didn’t want to tell you.”’.
‘Then it sounds like it’d be easy to talk about what you love, instead of thinking you have to sell yourself? How about if you tell me what you love about sales?’
‘It’s about winning. It’s not just about knowing what your customers want, but what your competitors are telling them. It’s about building a good relationship with your customers, gaining their trust, so they will give you intel to help you make a more attractive proposal.’
‘Great! Tell me an example when that happened.’
‘I had a client who worked with a partner who’s much smaller than us. They were 3 times cheaper. The client said “we are only a small local bank. We have no money.” Well they are still a bank and I know they had to update the infrastructure. I brought in different resources to put value-add in our proposal. I knew there were price pressures from the CIO, so I set up a meeting with the architect to explain why we’re giving them all the additional elements. In the end they said “this is the last time we’re paying this much.” But we still managed to sell them 3 more projects.’
This time, he told a great story! First time! Usually it’s so hard it’s like getting blood out of a stone! This time, it draws people in! He was excited and natural! He was being himself, unlike the other times! I was excited!
‘That’s a great story! Don’t think of it as a story if that’d make life difficult for you. Just think about sharing an example! This is what you have to do in every meeting. You are just talking, having a chat with a friend, not “selling”! Thinking that you are selling only stops you from being able to say anything at all!’
He nodded in agreement.
‘What did you learn from this story telling experience?’
‘That I have to focus on talking about what I love, so I can let my passion out, then make an impression.’
Try this and make every networking opportunity a success!