Clients, colleagues, friends, family, all people you come into contact with will judge you. First impressions are critical. You might dress nice or drive a nice car, but that is not what people are judging. Stand-up straight, smile, and give a firm handshake. Practice walking with books on your head – good posture. Don’t slouch…wait am I sounding like your mother? How do you walk? Do you look at the ground when you walk – you are missing opportunities, opportunities to make connections with others.
Early in my career I was walking down the hall with my eyes looking at the ground. Maybe I didn’t want to talk with anyone, maybe I was tired, maybe I was scared. Our director of facilities management stopped me and asked what I was looking at. This gentleman was not a small dude, intimidating to some, but someone I respected and admired. My response was of course – “nothing.” He gave me advice that maybe changed my whole career path – Look Up – the world was going by and I was missing it.
From that point forward I looked forward when I walked. It improved my posture, it improved relationships with colleagues, and most of all it improved my confidence. Why? I started seeing the world – I started feeling like I was a part of the team. I started getting noticed. As people noticed me – I became approachable. Connections started happening at an emotional level. Even if people did not know who to go to they asked me. They knew I was approachable and wouldn’t brush them off. I would guide them to a resource to help them.
I know I’m good at what I do. I know I’m smart…but it is time for me to make those connections. The people who currently “like” me can only get me so far as I try to start my own business. Getting noticed by prospects is no different. Get myself out there look them in the eyes and talk. Talk about financial strategy…probably not a great ice breaker. What are commonalities? Ask questions of their business, how long have they been in the area? Keep it positive. The point is to make the connection at this point. A good communicator listens 80% of the time and talks 20%. How about sales people…yes, I sat with a vendor last week. She asked questions of me and my business and listened 80% of the time and only talked about 20% of the time. Her approach made a huge impression on me. Especially being new to sales/start-ups.
Get people to like you. Of course not everyone will like you or take the time to like you. You just want to aim for LIKABLE. Trust…people will buy products and services from those they trust. Get to know your industry or the industry you serve. Research, research, research. Your research will pay off once the prospects start seeing you as equals. Then you may say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”