There is a basic concept that you need to understand to succeed in business. It does not matter if you are an employee at the bottom of the corporate ladder or if you are the owner of the company, everyone can benefit from mastering this concept.
The concept is this: companies don’t do business with other companies. The people that work for companies do business with the people at other companies.
In order to truly succeed, you need to maser this concept. The best way to get better at this is to enhance your “people” skills. By enhancing your people skills, I mean:
- Getting more people to know you,
- Getting more people to like you, and
- Getting more people to trust you.
There are several hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to get people to know you. There’s a whole advertising industry dedicated to doing just that. However, the single most effective way to get people to know, like and trust you is to network.
For some people, this word conjures loathing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people thrive in a networking environment. I am here to say that there is a way for everyone to succeed at networking.
The first step to networking is to find the right event for you. There are several classic networking organizations like your chambers of commerce, an industry association, or a trade show that are great places to find networking opportunities. But those are just the tip of the iceberg.
The best networking events are the ones that aren’t considered networking events – or at least ones you didn’t think qualify as networking events. Think of a high school reunion, or your co-ed softball team, or perhaps your homeowners association as an opportunity to network.
You may be thinking to yourself, how can these events be considered networking events? Easy. Business gets done with direct communication between people. Where there is an event or a meeting with more than just you, you have the opportunity to do business.
Now that you are looking at everything you do as a networking event, it is easy to get people to know you. This is the easiest of the three steps. The next steps can get a little more challenging. Once you have enough people know you, you must get most of them to like you.
The easiest way to get people to like you is to ask great questions.
The best way to get other people to like you is to show that you truly care about them, their needs, and their wants. When you ask a great question it shows you care about them. A great question shows that you have taken time to either research this person and their interests, research their company, and/or research their industry. When you ask more detailed questions than “what do you do” you are setting yourself up to get a lot of people to like you.
Learn a little more about the person with whom you are talking, and they will almost certainly take more time to remember you, and ultimately, more time to like you.
Finally, the last step to mastering this important business concept of people doing business with people is to give other people a reason to trust you.
In a business sense, trust means much more than honesty and integrity. While these are certainly qualities every businessperson should posses, trust in a business sense also can mean experience, expertise, loyalty, accountability, technical knowledge, and track record.
To really master the art of getting people to trust in you and your business, you need to show the other people you can be worthy of their trust. Setting up personal one-to-one meetings and giving sales presentations are the best way to establish this trust from the beginning. In these meetings and presentations, you can focus on how you and your track record of expertise and technical knowledge will help other people solve a problem.
You have already found other business people, you have already got other people to like you, now you must close this loop by having these people trust you. With this established business relationship, there is no reason it should not continue into the future.
There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of businesses throughout the country. The only thing each of these businesses has in common is that each company is run by people. To be truly successful in business, you must master the concept of doing business with people. The best way to do business with people: get them to know you, get them to like you, and get them to trust you.