Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How To Schmooz Your Way To Success With Your Small Business .... Networking 101

I'll be honest with you, schmoozing (aka networking) isn't easy for everyone. I consider myself a rather introverted person, and the thought of having to talk to people about myself . . . well, let's just say I'd rather visit the dentist!

On the bright side, however, I've found the best solution to the problem. I guarantee your next schmoozing experience will begin and end a success if you follow some of these schmoozing 101 tips.

Schmoozing Tip #1 ....

When you first go up and meet a person, Never Ever start talking about yourself. People will pay attention for a few seconds and then start looking for any excuse to leave. You don't need that. If that happens more than once, you'll feel like exiting the building yourself. We all know that isn't going to help the future growth of your business.

Here's my secret to schmoozing and getting and keeping people's attention . . . Are you listening?

Schmoozing Tip #2 ....

During the first part of the conversation, only talk about the other person. Ask them what they do, how their business is doing, what do they do to find customers. Ask the kind of questions you are uncertain about with your business. This is a smart schmooze move for a couple of reasons.

First, by asking someone else for their know-how and experience, you never know when you might receive a "pearl" of wonderful advice in return. So listen carefully to what your new-found friend is saying. Don't just pretend you're listening. Look into their eyes, not around the room while they talk.

The other reason to use this schmoozing strategy? Hey, it's flattering when others want to hear about your ideas and business. Many people do enjoy talking about themselves, and encouraging them with questions and interested ears will keep them talking with you. Not many people walk away from a conversation where they are playing the leading role!

Once you've showed this interest in your new acquaintance, soon enough, you'll most likely be asked about your business and what you do. Bingo!

Schmoozing Tip #3 ....

Now, don't freeze at this point. Practice what you 're going to say. Rehearse in front of your spouse, friend, or Mirror. Make it interesting. Give the person a good reason to listen. Be funny, interesting, entertaining -- do whatever you feel is appropriate to keep the person's attention. Make your answers short and sweet. End with a quick exchange of business cards -- you never know when you might need that person's service or you may know someone you can refer to them and vice versa.

So, Schmoozing 101's bottom line: Spend a little time with each new prospect. Listen. Learn. Then end with your short spiel. Soon, you'll have a whole room who can't wait to talk to you, and you won't mind!

Schmooze Away!