contact meet jeff watch video webstore books motivation blog top 10 lists speaking

Listening & Empathy in Sales

business woman listening carefully

By Jeff Beals

A few quick thoughts on the importance of listening and empathy in the sales process:

If you don’t ask the right questions, you might be operating under flawed assumptions.

When establishing a business relationship, focus on the other
person. Listen with intensity.

You can’t fully connect with your prospects until you can see the
world through their eyes.

When doing business in a different culture, don’t simply adapt
to it; embrace it.

Sometimes your success depends on your ability and willingness
to relate to people who are very different than you.

Making someone feel comfortable in your presence is one of the most basic requirements in developing a profitable client-provider
relationship.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Fast-Food Rage: The Absence of Responsibility & Accountability

IcedTea2

By Jeff Beals

Those who know me personally know that I have an iced tea problem.  I can’t get enough of it.

So one day, during a long drive, I pulled off the freeway to get an iced tea at a fast-food restaurant.  I decided to stay there for a while and catch up on some reading.  As soon as I sat down, a heated conversation caught my ear.

I looked up to see the restaurant manager, somewhat flustered and very red in the face, arguing with a middle-aged woman whose face was even redder.  A third person, a high-school-aged girl wearing the restaurant’s uniform, stood close by with both hands on her hips listening intently.

It turned out the girl had just completed her shift at the restaurant and was angry because she didn’t receive the 15-minute break to which she was entitled.  Apparently, the restaurant had been quite busy, and for whatever reason, it didn’t happen.

So how did the young fast-food worker handle her disappointment?  She called her mom.  Apparently a “helicopter parent,” the mother rushed to the store to defend her young daughter’s rights.

The confrontation between mom and manager took place right in the middle of the restaurant in front of several customers. It was ugly and frankly difficult to watch.  I can still hear the mother yelling at the manager:

“The law says she gets a break no matter what,” the mom threatened. “You better treat her right, or I’ll have her get a different job someplace else. I know you have a hard time getting workers to come all the way out here to the interstate!”

The incident was disturbing and a perfect example of a common problem in our society.  There are too many people who don’t understand three important words: responsibility, authority and accountability. There are too many people who live like dependent victims. There are too many people who don’t take charge of their own lives.  I’m worried about that young fast-food worker’s future.

And what’s even more disturbing? This problem is not limited to spoiled teenagers with over-involved parents. Countless adults are afflicted as well.

Every individual has responsibility for himself or herself.  Nobody else can or should make decisions for you.  Fortunately, each of us has the authority to carry out that responsibility.  Nobody has the right to take away the power you have over your own life.  Finally, we are accountable for the decisions we make – good or bad.  You live with the consequences of your decision-making and actions.

While responsibility, authority and accountability come with a burden, they are also liberating.  Success begins and ends with you.  People who abide by these three words enjoy more success and lead richer lives.

Until more people live by these important words, I’m afraid society will continue to operate substantially below its potential.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

How a Compelling Story Can Build Your Business & Set You Apart

Earl of Sandwich

By Jeff Beals

(Orlando, Fla.) – To kill time before a flight, I walked through Downtown Disney last week taking in the sights and sounds. As lunchtime approached, a uniquely named restaurant caught my eye: “The Earl of Sandwich.”

It turned out to be a good place for a quick-serve lunch, but what’s truly interesting about the Earl of Sandwich restaurant is the story behind the name. A prominently posted sign inside the restaurant reads:

The Sandwich Charter

Our family knows about great sandwiches; we invented the sandwich and have been eating sandwiches since 1762.

 Using 250 years of experience, today we have set up EARL OF SANDWICH to make delicious sandwiches for you.

Our Secret is to bake the bread when you order, roast our meats every morning and use traditional family recipes.

We are a family who loves making sandwiches and sincerely hope you enjoy eating them.

-          John, 11th Earl of Sandwich

As it turns out, the sandwich, as a food item, really did originate in the restaurant owner’s family back in the 1700s in the English town of Sandwich, Kent.  Back then, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was supposedly the first person to eat meat between two slices of bread.  The new invention allowed Montagu to be able to eat while simultaneously working (and while gambling, which he apparently enjoyed quite a bit).  In the years since then, the sandwich has become one of the most common foods in the world.

The Earl of Sandwich restaurant chain is based in Orlando and now has 28 locations in 11 U.S. states plus one in France. Most of the locations are inside airports or near tourist attractions.

Don’t you just love the history behind this restaurant?  Don’t you just love the story?

A story is one of the most powerful things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective.  Entire organizations can be based upon a story.  People can be moved by stories.  Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story.

Let’s face it, sub sandwich restaurants are a dime a dozen. The food at the Earl of Sandwich was good but so is the food at competing businesses like Jersey Mikes, Subway, Blimpe, Jimmy Johns, Potbelly and many others.  Ultimately, it’s hard to make a sub sandwich that is noticeably better than another sub sandwich.  That’s where the story comes into play. That’s why the cool historical story behind Earl of Sandwich is valuable.

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, you need a differentiating factor, an advantage, something to set you apart.  The one thing that might set you apart from everyone else just might be a compelling story. The story behind what you do and why you do it could be the difference between success and failure.

Think about the stories your company or organization (and you as an individual professional too) has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories?

Make an arsenal of stories you can pull out at any time you need them.  Talk to your colleagues as they may have great stories about your organization. People learn by stories. People can be compelled to action by stories. Any time you are selling something or trying to convince another person of something, your job will be easier if you reduce your message to a memorable story.

Who knows…Your stories might even lead to a brand-new business!

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Marketing Lessons from Warren Buffet & Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway 2015 Shareholders Meeting

By Jeff Beals

As is the case each year, I attended the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting this past weekend in Omaha. It’s quite a spectacle as more than 44,000 shareholders and guests from around the world descend upon the CenturyLink Center arena and convention center to learn, network and celebrate capitalism.

Among all the excitement of the shareholders’ meeting, the star attraction is the legendary Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire and generally considered the world’s greatest investor.

This year’s shareholders’ meeting was extra energized, because it was the 84-year-old Buffet’s 50th year as CEO.

During the meeting, tens of thousands of shareholders and business journalists sit breathlessly listening to Buffet and his long-time vice chairman, 91-year-old Charlie Munger, answer questions and impart financial wisdom for more than six hours. Buffet and Munger are not the only billionaires in attendance (even Bill Gates comes each year), but they are the ones who patiently and thoughtfully lead the marathon discussion session despite their advanced ages.

I always find the financial Q&A somewhat interesting, and I do learn from it, but as a sales-and-marketing guy, my fascination is with everything that surrounds the formal meeting. The meeting is part of a three-day weekend extravaganza, the “Woodstock of Capitalism,” as Buffet calls it.

In the same building as the meeting, an entire tradeshow floor, bigger than couple football fields, is filled with elaborate display booths for many of the companies Berkshire owns – Coca-Cola, See’s Candies, Clayton Homes, Dairy Queen, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Shareholders flood the tradeshow floor, buying everything they can get their hands on. The same merchandise they can find in a regular, ordinary store becomes more special when they buy it at the meeting’s festive environment where Buffet himself is present.

I walked the aisles in amazement as people waited in lines 40-to-50-people deep just to buy a single Coke or a Dilly Bar. In a regular setting, not a single one of those people would likely wait so long to buy a soda. Even the Fruit of the Loom underwear display was packed shoulder-to-shoulder!

What does the frenetic environment on the tradeshow floor tell us? Perhaps many things, but one message is crystal clear: people are still moved by emotion. Consumer buying decisions are greatly enhanced in an atmosphere of excitement. The Berkshire shareholders are no ordinary group of people – they tend to be wealthy (a single share is worth $218,000), worldly and sophisticated. It’s quite a site witnessing so many accomplished people getting giddy over such everyday things.

14 Ways to Find Influencers & Build Champions

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANYAAAAJGJiNjI0NWNmLWJiYjUtNGE4ZS05OThjLWYyN2EyMGMwMmZlZg

By Jeff Beals

Not all influencers are champions and not all champions are influencers, but often one person can play both roles.

Influencers and champions play such important roles in the sales effort that savvy professionals work hard to identify them and manipulate them. Sales pros can win over influencers, but they have to create champions.

What’s the difference between the two terms? Quite a bit, even though they often work hand-in-hand.

An influencer is someone who helps a prospect make decisions and often sways that decision. The influencer is someone special or important in the prospect’s life to whom he or she turns for advice, guidance and sometimes even accountability. Some influencers are neutral and objective, preferring to play a listening and counseling role, helping prospects come to their own decisions. Other influencers have definite opinions and try to talk the prospect into making a certain buying decision.

Champions are biased by definition. They champion a cause or organization in which they believe. They are advocates. They are cheerleaders. They endorse and give testimony for those they believe in. For many possible reasons, they are loyal to one company above all its competitors.

The more champions you have, the more successful you’ll be in whatever you are trying to accomplish. Sales professionals need specific strategies for developing and deploying champions as well as how to identify and win over influencers. When you encounter an influencer, you want to turn them into a champion. If you can get the person who influences the buying decision, especially if the influencer is particularly influential, to become your raving fan, your chances of landing the business are outstanding.

Here are 14 things to think about when it comes to influencers and champions:

Find the real decision maker. Sometimes it’s hard to tell

Identify your prospect’s influencers and turn them into champions

You can win over an influencer, but champions must be created

A champion will continue selling for you even when you are not around

One of the easiest ways to identify influencers is to simply ask the prospect who helps them make their decisions

Be wary of false influencers. Some people don’t have as much influence over your prospect as you might think

Develop a trusting relationship with the influencer just as you would with the would-be client

Turn influencers into champions by thoroughly explaining complicated matters. Give extra value and spend extra time

When prospect and influencer are in agreement, you have a higher likelihood of retaining the prospect once he or she becomes a client

Implement a plan that deliberately develops champions

Use your champions for intelligence, not just influence and persuasion

If you are fortunate enough to have champions, keep your mind open to their suggestions

Find ways to reward your most loyal champions

Ideally, champions should see themselves as extensions of your organization

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

You’re Being Watched So Act Accordingly

man shaving in car

By Jeff Beals

Once upon a time, two salesmen – a long-time veteran and a newbie in his first week on the job – visited the CEO of a medium-sized company hoping to sell services to her.

The meeting went so well that the CEO agreed to purchase what the salesmen had to offer. They quickly wrote up a contract and had her sign it. All three people had smiles on their faces as the salesmen shook the owner’s hand, thanked her for her business and headed toward the elevator lobby.

As they waited for the elevator, the veteran sales rep proudly said to the new guy, “You see buddy, I told you this job is easy. Selling to these suckers is like shootin’ fish in a barrel. They don’t even have a chance!”

As soon as he said it, he wished he could retract his words.

At just that moment, the CEO, the person with whom they had signed a deal moments earlier, walked by. She heard every word and was patently insulted. She grabbed the contract out of the new guy’s hand and ripped it in half.

What was once a “done deal” suddenly became a costly blunder.

What a waste of time, effort and money! It took quite a bit of time for the sales reps to get to that point in the selling process. They had to conduct background research on the company and the CEO. It required persistence to get past the gatekeeping secretary and land that appointment. They had to prepare a customized sales presentation to win over the CEO. In the end, all of that work was for naught.

Failing to take care of the little things can sabotage your success.

Many years ago, I found myself needing to fill an open position in my department. It was a good job, and a number of people applied. But there was one candidate in particular who stood out. He was uniquely qualified, and I was excited to interview him.

About 30 minutes before the scheduled interview time, I looked out my office window and saw a well-dressed guy shaving in the parking lot. He had an electric razor in his hand and was using the reflection of himself in his car window as a mirror. Sure enough, that guy turned out to be the candidate. It was not an impressive way to start his job interview.

No matter what you do or who you are, it pays to remember this: You are being watched! Somebody is always listening to what you say!

The little things you do when you assume nobody is watching or listening can devastate your career.

I’m not advocating paranoia. Trust me; I sometimes do or say things I should not. Like many people, I have occasionally paid a price for stupid things I have done or said. But I’m generally safe when I assume that people are listening to what I say and watching what I do.

In our ultra-connected world, the metaphorical camera and the metaphorical microphone are always on…So beware.

Oh, and sometimes it’s not just metaphorical - it’s often real cameras and real microphones that capture our less-than-stellar moments.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Bizarre Client Provides Another Reason to Qualify

stop wasting my time

By Jeff Beals

Many years ago, when I first started working in commercial real estate, I learned something new about prospective-client qualification.

One day a man walked into our office. He had just moved to my city from a different part of the company, and he brought some impressive ideas with him. He wanted to interview our real estate company in order to have us represent him as he developed property and built major buildings in his new city. His ideas were downright grandiose, and he assured us he had access to unlimited capital. He told captivating stories and dropped big names.

Even though I was a newbie, an alarm went off in my head. This guy sounded too good to be true. My boss was equally skeptical. Our initial thought was to just laugh about the meeting and not waste our time with the guy.  But there was something that kept pulling us back. Something about the guy seemed genuine, so we decided to do a little background research on him.

Background Research

For the most, his stories actually checked out. We learned he had been involved in some significant real estate deals if not as big as what he was proposing to us. We found evidence that he had done work with a couple of the big names he mentioned. A banking reference he gave us was legitimate. We learned that a couple other companies had signed on to work with him including a widely respected business consultant and a major architecture firm.

While it still seemed too good to be true, we decided to move forward at least for a while with this guy.  Though we were suspicious he could accomplish his plans, a couple questions in the back of our minds kept haunting us: What if he IS legitimate and we pass up the opportunity? What if we walk away and one of our competitors ends up doing this once-in-a-career project with him?

As we proceeded, this man ended up demanding an extraordinary amount of my time, which eventually made me feel suspicious again. But after a while, we came to a moment of truth, a chance for him to prove himself. The client decided to make an offer on a prominent piece of real estate. We wrote up the contract, and he produced a sizable cashier’s check for the earnest deposit.  Finally, this strange man with the visionary ideas put up some real cash and signed a purchase agreement!

Due Diligence

During the due diligence period following that contract, the client took even more of our time, but instead of focusing on the matter at hand – closing this deal – he was focused on other, bigger properties he wanted.  His head was in the clouds. I became more and more frustrated, because the guy wouldn’t focus on first-things-first. How could we conquer the local real estate market if he couldn’t even focus long enough to close the first deal?!!?

As I pushed him, his personality changed. He got downright weird – confrontational and combative. It was frankly kind of disturbing. Some of his other advisers (architect, lender, attorney, etc.) were noticing the same thing.

At the last minute, he came up with a crazy excuse and killed the deal just as the due diligence period was about to expire. Many people had worked long and hard for absolutely nothing.

What did the mysterious client do next?

He asked us all to start working on another property he claimed to want.  This one was even bigger and the plans he had for it were even more fanciful.

Moving On

That’s when I finally had enough. My real estate firm cut ties with him.  Some of the other companies that had been working him followed suit.

That was many years ago. The would-be, life-changing client never ended up purchasing or developing a single, solitary property in my city. He moved away many years ago presumably to pull the same charade somewhere else. I haven’t heard from him at all in that time. Just out of curiosity, I have Googled him a few times over the years and very little shows up.

I can remember him once telling me that he preferred “to fly under the radar.”  I’ve heard that from other prospective clients and vendors over the years. Without exception, every person who has said those words to me has turned out to be illegitimate in some way.  If you ever want me to run away from you and never ask to do business with you ever again, simply tell me you like “to fly under the radar”

Other than avoiding people who fly under the radar, what did I learn from this time-sucking client?

Another thing to look for when qualifying prospects!

I had always thought qualification was about discovering their motives and determining their ability to perform financially.  In reality, qualification is about more than that. Some people are dreamers. Some people are wannabes.  Perhaps for some psychological reason I don’t understand, some people want to play fantasy business instead of accomplishing real things.

If you are willing to allow them, people will happily usurp your time even for things that don’t necessarily make sense for you.  I try to remind myself that the qualification process is all about elimination. We need to eliminate posers, pretenders and usurpers before they can steal your most precious resource: time.

I’m glad the strange man came into my professional life all those years ago. The time I wasted with him back then turned out to be quite valuable. I’m much more efficient today and my eyes are more keenly aware because of what I learned back then.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

11 Ways Sales Strategy & Prospecting Go Together

sales meeting

By Jeff Beals

There are so many things to consider when developing a sales strategy and then carrying it out. Here are eleven pieces of advice that will help you sign more deals:

Spend time developing both your strategies and tactics and allocate adequate resources toward both.

Strategic planning must wait until the organization has clearly established its culture and understands what it is and what it never wants to be.

Honestly assess where you stand vis-à-vis your competition in the arena of public opinion.

Goals should be a product of your dreams and be in harmony with your core values.

In determining your target audience, focus on exactly what kinds of clients you need to succeed.

Go where the prospects are. Meet them where they live. Develop rapport, build relationships with them, establish trust and close deals.

Start with the low-hanging fruit when prospecting but be prepared to go to whatever lengths are necessary to find the right kinds of clients.

Live and breathe your sales territory Know it like the back of your hand. Own it.

Build a “war room,” which is a place where you can spread out confidential trade information and display it without the worry of an outsider seeing it.

Never go back on any promise made to any prospective client.

Honor your strategic plan, but always stand ready to tweak it and adjust on the fly.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Winning Business from Adidas

adidas show

By Jeff Beals

For some reason, certain companies have a prestigious feel to them. There’s just something about their brands that catches your interest and makes you pay close attention.

I’ve always considered athletic shoe companies to be prestigious and desirable. Nike, Under Armour and Adidas – those brands really grab my attention. As a kid, I was obsessed with athletic shoes. I still think those products are cool to this day.

Perhaps that’s why a story I heard recently peaked my interest.

I was watching an educational video program produced by the Lipsey Company that was designed to teach real estate brokers how to be more effective salespersons. During the program, the speaker told a story about a big-time corporate lease negotiation for space in a class-A office building.

A real estate broker represented a high-rise office building in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead district. The broker’s job was to market the space for lease and negotiate lease terms with prospective office tenants on behalf of the owner.

One day the listing broker received a call from a competing broker who represented Adidas.

Hearing that a prestigious multinational company like Adidas is considering your office building is music to a listing broker’s ears.

The listing broker, the building manager and the owner of the building all wanted Adidas bad, but several other office buildings were being considered. The competition for Adidas would be fierce. To win the business and land Adidas as a tenant, the team marketing the Buckhead building would have to pull out all the stops.

They did just that.

When the Adidas team arrived at the Buckhead building, they found a professionally produced sign reserving the closest parking stall for them. As soon as they got out of their car, they were greeted by seven people representing the building – the broker, property managers, owner representatives, building engineers, etc.

Guess what — All seven of them were wearing brand-new Adidas tennis shoes!

The lead broker greeted the Adidas team and said, “First of all, we love your products. Secondly, we would love to have you in our building.”

The extra care and attention paid off. A short time later, the broker learned that Adidas chose the Buckhead Building.  A full-floor lease in a high-rent office district translated into a hefty commission check!

Whether you are trying to make an impression on Adidas, or a lesser known person/company, a little extra effort can really pay dividends.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Networking Success: How to Be a Forgiving Conversationalist

By Jeff Beals

The key to success in any networking conversation is your ability and willingness to listen. In fact, I recommend you listen two-thirds of the time and speak only one-third of the time whenever you strike up a conversation at a networking event.

I call it “The Rule of Thirds.”  Two-thirds of the time should be focused on the other person and one-third of the time reserved for whatever you think is important.

I was presenting a networking workshop for a large group of sales professionals a few years ago when one of the attendees approached me during a break. His name was Anthony.

“You know that whole ‘listen-two-thirds-of-the-time’ stuff you talk about?” he said. “Well, I do that. But how come nobody ever tries to do it back to me? Why am I the only one who listens? People are so self-absorbed. Why doesn’t anyone try to listen to me two-thirds of the time?”

He was frustrated that despite how hard he worked to show interest in others, nobody seemed to reciprocate.

I thought about his observation and said, “If you think about it, Anthony, it’s really quite a blessing. After all, if everyone followed the Rule of Thirds we would have a mathematical problem right?”

If people let you do the questioning and listening, they are essentially giving you all the power. The questioner leads and manipulates the conversation.

Forgiveness

If you are going to be effective as a networker, one of the first things you must do is become a forgiving person. For the better you become at interpersonal communications, the more you will notice how lousy at it the rest of us are.

Ultimately, you win when you make it about the other person. It’s always about them, not you. No matter how much they might deny it, the truth is that people really care most about themselves.

Don’t get discouraged if people are self-absorbed and don’t show much interest in learning about what you hold dear. If you listen to, comprehend and engage with what they are saying, they will love you. That will lead to sales, deals, agreements, job offers or whatever else you might be seeking.

While the virtue of forgiveness is important in networking, it is not the only skill you need. Here are some networking rules to keep in mind whether you’re rubbing shoulders with movers-and-shakers or simply mingling with prospective clients:

Start with a Purpose

Focus on results when networking. When you go to networking events, go with a goal in mind. Sure, you should try to enjoy the social aspects of your conversations, but make it your mission to meet new people, find a good lead and learn about a golden opportunity.

A Positive Face

When participating in any networking event, bring a positive attitude even if you don’t want to be there. People with energy and enthusiasm are more attractive to fellow networkers.

Focus

While you never know who could provide you with opportunities or valuable information, make your networking efficient by seeking out people in your target audience. Spend the preponderance of your time with people who can help you reach your goals in the shortest period of time.

Questions

Ultimately, networking should lead to some tangible benefit. You can push professional relationships forward in part by asking questions. Ask things that lead people down a path to your ultimate goal. You may find benefit in preparing questions ahead of time and rehearsing in your mind how you might ask such questions.

Valuable Leave-Behind

You should leave discussion partners with an item of value but this is nothing you can see, taste or touch. It’s intangible – something like a joke, piece of trivia or a bit of interesting insider information. These intangible leave-behinds make you and your message more memorable.

Observe the Masters

If you are shy or awkward in professional networking situations, you can improve by observing the masters, those people who are naturally gifted at making small talk, working the room and connecting people. Emulate what they do well and you may eventually become a master yourself.

Make a commitment to network more and remember to do it deliberately with a purpose. Showing up at public venues frequently over a long period of time will increase your public profile, connect you with the right people and help you become that person who always seems to know about business and political happenings long before your colleagues do.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>