Sometimes you have to disobey your Parents.
Many of us probably remember when we were little. Like most children growing up, we were taught by our parents or some loving adult for us not to talk to strangers. That was very important then because we were young and little and it was very important for our survival. They told us that out of love and wanting to keep safe. Unfortunately sometimes the things that we’re taught when we’re little our young that was for our survival can sometimes as we become adults, specifically in the business that is actually detrimental. It could literally cause us death. Not physical death, but death to our business. It can be very destructive to our business because one of the most important things that you can do as a business owner, as an entrepreneur is to talk to strangers. Most of the people who you’re going deal with are going to be strangers. That’s if you want your business to survive. Remember, the strangers of today will become the customer, the employees and/or investors of tomorrow.
It’s important for us to be able to extend a hand, smile, and shake hands. Practice “The five feet Rule”. Whenever we are within five feet of someone we don’t know we should be able to walk up to them, introduce ourselves and find out about the person. Specifically if we are in networking or marketing events where we are to actually mingle with other business owners or would be business partners. Find out what they do first; then let them know what we do. It is very important for us to talk strangers. By not talking to strangers we limit ourselves to our friends and family, to the people who know. Most successful businesses don’t know all their customers personally. If you are to be successful, the majority of the customers will not be people you know. In order to expand your customer base, to expand the potential partnerships and investors it is highly important for us to be able to overcome that thought that has been imbedded in our mind about not talking to strangers.
Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs consider themselves to be shy or bashful. The thing is, we have to overcome that. I remember when I was young, I was considered to be somewhat shy. I was very afraid to talk to people. It was to the point where I was afraid to talk to my own shadow. The reality is that if we are going to do, go or grow in any area we have to be able to move yourself or push yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, I made a conscious decision after graduating High School to go to a college where I didn’t know anyone. Sink or swim. My belief is that success is where the lines of preparedness and opportunity cross. I can’t control when the opportunities will come, so I must get prepared. The funny thing is as soon as you are prepared they suddenly appear! Now I have no problem with speaking to hundreds or thousands at a time. If you need suggestions to help you push past your comfort zone, post a comment below and I make some suggestions. I if anyone else like to leave a suggestion please do so.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of the people you will be dealing with as your business grows will be strangers. Therefore, as an entrepreneurs it is very, very import to improve our speaking, listening and rapport skills. In a future blog I will be discussing how to create business rapport. How do you generate that? What do you say? What do you do? How do you meet someone? What are some of the icebreakers you could say? Not to let them know how much you know, but to find out what they know. If all you hear is what you know, you will never learn anything new. There is one phrase that works every time in networking events. “If I were to refer someone to your business, what 3 things would I need to know?” Practice this at your next business event. The beauty is that it helps them stay focused and it make you look like a confident business owner. Besides, when have you ever met an entrepreneur who did like to talk about their business? It reminds us that every customer or potential partner is always tuned to station “WIIFM”. The “What’s In It For Me” station. So our job is to allow them their 15 minutes of fame. They will love you for it.
To sum up Entrepreneurial Secret #3, sometimes we have to disobey our parents. We have to go against the belief that we have be taught and talk to strangers. They will be the bulk of our customer base. The more people you can add value to, to more people that will add value to you.
If you have any comments or things you would like for me discuss, please leave a comment. I will get back to you and possibly feature your comment and you if you like in a future post.
Dewong Lucas, Sr.