With another year done and dusted perhaps it is a good time to look back on our achievements and plan for a better 2013 than last year. Even if you have just lived through an awesome year. We are programmed to move forward, to improve and to set goals (however effective they may be).
In this blog, I’d like to consider how we communicate and connect with others. Networking is all about building relationships and learning the skills to create solid connections is very much worth doing as a prelude to the New Year.
Think of any habits and beliefs you may have and facts you ‘know’. These are the result of past information merging with your personal experiences and the creation of neural pathways in your brain. Repeated thoughts and learnings establish patterns that can save you the energy required when we assimilate new information. The adaptive benefit of established modes of thinking and acting is that the brain uses more energy when it is actively thinking and learning new things (or when it is under stress) than when you operate by routine or without thinking. Basically, habitual thinking, instinctive reactions and your learned belief system is imprinted on your physical brain architecture and this is a means of conserving energy and allowing you to react more quickly.
May I digress briefly here and mention that a high nutritional intake of minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories (as in Kakadu Complex®) supports the integrity of your brain architecture and is important in avoiding mental diseases in old age, including senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Back to my blog…
What this means to entrepreneurs is that we need to connect with our prospect’s mind in a way to overcome existing pathways. To do this, we communicate with the intention to engage and create common ground (reach existing pathways) as we build rapport. Our intent with the next step is to discover existing problems and we stir the most urgent of these to make it real and present. Finally, we provide the solution and this information build on the established neural paths, modifying it but simply adding to what’s already there.
A mistake that new networkers often make is to presume a problem (or just do the ‘pitch’ without knowing if it’s even relevant). They expect that the information will be accepted forgetting that we do not believe what strangers tell us; we believe a little of what our friends tell us but we totally believe what we say to ourselves.
This process reflects the self-talk that underpins our beliefs and takes our prospect from where they are at to where you (honorably and with integrity) want them to go.
For example: We are talking to a person for the first time. You ask questions that get the other person to simply talk about their favorite topic – themselves and where they are in life.
You might have started with the question; “What do you want more of in your life?” You may need to ask for some idea of the economic value of their reply as more money or more time is pretty meaningless. You need a measure of how much so you can see the level or set points they have for themselves. It is reported that Donald Trump recognizes his lifestyle needs at around $100,000 a month. When talking to the banks about financing his failed venture to resurrect their investments and re-start a project, the bankers commented on an allocation of funds for his own personal expenses. Donald told them that he needed his penthouse and expensive lifestyle in order to achieve the outcomes they both wanted.
Most of us might manage on a little less than the high flying Mr Trump, at least initially.
Once you have an idea what your contact requires as their set-point of better health, free time or income, prompt for comments on their response with phrases such as “What are you doing about that?” or “How’s that working for you?” or “Tell me more about that.” or “That’s really interesting. I would feel the same way if I was in your shoes. Many people have felt this way and what they found was that the solution was a lot easier and more fun than they’d ever imagined. They now feel a sense of calm about their future, recognizing that they can make a difference and improve their lives.”
It is all about building rapport, finding out about an important problem, stirring it up, making it real and present and motivate them to act. There is an acronym of SPIN.
Situation – determine this as you build rapport
Problem or Pain – what is the real challenge that you might solve
Imperative – it needs to be real and present danger stuff
Needs – here’s your solution and it should be the obvious choice from here
Clearly, rapport and connection takes time. You might have this already with friends and family but this is on a very different level than a business relationship. You need to build the neural links in a different part of the brain than exists with your current social/familial relationship before you can offer a solution with regards to your opportunity or product. Sure, a health product might fit the social, caring context of family and friends but not if they know you are in business promoting the product. Unless you establish the value of the product, provide the 3rd party testimonials and make it clear why you are promoting the product (at least equally for their benefit and yours) you will always come across as an evangelist or a snake oil salesman.
All of the above supports the sales concept that the majority of people prefer 5% difference and 95% sameness (or familiarity). Proportionately fewer people cope with 25 to 75% difference and less than 5% of people readily accept new things, concepts and opportunities when they are significantly (95%) different to their accepted norm. This is why we ask questions to reveal the ideas and belief system others have before we can (honorably and ethically) influence by entering their reality and then forming the bridge to your new reality.
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