Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

3 Steps to Effective Cross-Cultural Communication

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Let me tell you a quick story. Some years ago when I first visited South East Asia as a Professional Speaker, I was Two businessmen in suits shaking hands and smiling.somewhat apprehensive about how I well I would communicate with people from totally different cultures. After all, I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. It was even a challenge at times, to communicate with people 150 miles away in Aberdeen, whose culture was slightly different from mine. So how would I communicate with people on the other side of the world?

I needn’t have been concerned because the people I met and spoke to in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia were much closer to me, in communication, than I had anticipated.

We need to understand the world

In this global economy, we all have to interact with suppliers, vendors and our counterparts in other cultures. Our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined partly, by our knowledge of other cultures. Knowledge of food, art, fashion, behavior, customs, language and religion; all of this will stand us in good stead when we communicate with others. This knowledge can be gathered from books and other media; also from closely listening to and observing the people that we interact with.

We are all human

More importantly, our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined by our emotional intelligence and human qualities.

Many business people seem to forget that when dealing with other people, they are dealing with human beings. Whatever culture these people have been raised and reside in, they still display human characteristics such as happiness, sadness, confidence, insecurities, desire for acknowledgement and acceptance of others. They experience anger and frustration, jealousy, fear of rejection, laziness and much more.

As humans, we are predominantly driven by our emotions when making decisions; whether to buy product or service or to accept what other people say.

When dealing with others, people will allow their emotions, rather than logic, to influence them.

Step 1 – Communicate on a Human and Business level.

When you work with suppliers, vendors, staff and customers; communication happens on two levels – the Human level and the Business Level. It is always better to open any interaction, be it written or verbal, on the Human Level before doing any business. This satisfies the individual’s need for acknowledgement, courteous treatment and acceptance of their viewpoints.

This does not mean that every time you interact with a supplier, a colleague or a customer, that you launch into some personal discussion. Opening on a Human Level can only take a couple of words, however, they have to be genuine.

The Business Level is about work related issues. If you interact with other people only on the Business Level, their needs on the Human Level will not be met and may get in the way of their ability to understand and respond positively to what you say.

When other people are angry or upset, they will demonstrate strong feelings. It is important to address these feeling on a Human Level or the business aspect may be disrupted and conflict will be created. You need to deal with the other person’s feelings, and then deal with their problem. When the business part of the interaction is completed, it is important to end on the Human Level

Step 2 – Get people to like you

Much of our success in cross-cultural communication will be determined by our ability to sell ourselves to others. Whether in our personal or working lives; people will judge us by what we say and what we do.

More importantly, this will be influenced by how likable we are. Likability is about being human; it’s about displaying warmth.

Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sometimes acclaimed as the world’s greatest investor, once said:

‘I’ve walked away from some great deals because I didn’t like the people I was dealing with.’

Likability in people will also be measured by their ability to really listen and be interested in others. Likable people use your name and look as if they care. We like people who have something positive to say and don’t whinge!

Likable people empathize with our problems and accept that we may have a different view of the world from them. Likability is demonstrated by a genuine smile, good eye contact, a sense of humor and relaxed open body language.

Step 3 – Be a credible communicator

When communicating with other people, and particularly when you’re trying to persuade them, the key ingredients are credibility and believability. Your credibility will be determined by the verbal, vocal and visual elements of your message.

If the words you say aren’t confirmed by your tone of voice and how you look, you won’t be believed. People will evaluate you (an average of 11 decisions within the first six seconds) based primarily on non-verbal information. We all tend to make snap judgements about other people, and often make mistakes – we stereotype.

So don’t fall into this trap when you meet other people, or speak to them on the phone. Also, be very aware, they will make decisions about you based on your tone of voice and body language.

Low self-esteem and self-image affect body language and tone of voice. People tend to make movements and display posture which indicates a lack of confidence. The people you communicate with, will sense from your tone of voice whether you are confident and believe in what you say.

If you don’t feel confident in a particular situation, act or pretend to be confident. Walk into a room as if you own the place. Pick up the phone and speak in a clear, confident and distinct manner.

You confidence and credibility will be determined by the self-talk that goes on inside your head.

Listen to that self-talk and ask yourself – ‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, positive and credible?’ If so – great! ‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’ If this is the case – STOP IT, change the program!

By talking to yourself in a positive manner, you’ll start to feel physically better; you’ll look better, sound more confident and credible. Words have an enormous power to create change in the chemistry of your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure, muscles, nerves and breathing will all react to the words you say to yourself and this will evident to other people.

‘Who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Make no mistake about it, if you build your knowledge of other cultures and couple that with these 3 Steps, you will become an even more effective cross-cultural communicator.

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How to Build Rapport with Anyone

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Have you ever heard a manager say, ‘My door is always open, come and talk to me anytime.’coaching2

If you are a manager, then you have to accept the fact that your employees won’t always do that.

They might not want to bother you, or they may feel that they should know the answers to their questions, and they’ll look stupid if they ask.

And how many times have they approached you and you’ve been on the phone or “too busy”?

It’s your job to get out and talk to them.

I’ve also heard managers say; ‘I sit with my team in an open-plan office so I’m always available to them and I hear what’s going on.’ Oh no you don’t!

Get off your butt

It’s important to get out of your office, or up off your seat and mix with your people on a regular basis, don’t wait for them to come to you. Pull up a chair and have chat.

And don’t just talk about business; find out how they’re doing on a human level. That doesn’t mean prying into their personal life, but your team members want to feel that you’re interested and care about them as an individual.

It’s also important that they feel free to chat amongst themselves, so don’t stifle that. A team who have good relationships with each other are a productive team.

Get over it

Many business owners and managers aren’t comfortable about speaking to their team members unless it’s about business.

I’ve worked for many managers who knew nothing, or very little about me on a personal basis.

One of my colleagues once told me that our manager had asked him if I was gay. He’d come to this conclusion because there didn’t seem to be a woman in my life. At the time he was coming to this conclusion, I was going through the breakup of my fifteen year marriage to my wife.

However my manager didn’t know that, nor would he have been able to handle it if he did. That doesn’t suggest he was a bad person, he just didn’t know how to make that human connection and sadly he didn’t try.

Perhaps you’re not comfortable speaking to your team on a human level, however, I would ask that you consider the importance of your communication and rapport building skills. Your success as a manager is highly dependent on your ability to listen and speak with your people.

Give people what they want

Human beings crave attention and acceptance and they want to know you care. If your customers and your team members feel that you’re interested and care about them as individuals, then it becomes so much easier for you to achieve your goals.

Successful entrepreneurs are excellent at building rapport. When you meet them they don’t necessarily talk about themselves, they ask you questions.

I’ve met several successful business people and I’m always impressed and flattered by their interest in me.

It’s good to talk

You can practice your rapport building skills any time, particularly in your personal life. In the locker room at my local health club, I notice that many of the guys don’t speak to each other.

I always make a point of saying hello or passing the time of day. If they don’t want to talk, then that’s fine. However, I find they usually do and I’ve had some interesting conversations.

And forget what your mother said about never speaking to strangers – always speak to strangers!

Speak to everyone you meet and practice your rapport building skills – taxi drivers, people in trains, and aeroplanes and anywhere else you come into contact. I sometimes have to push myself to do it but I’m always glad when I do.

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please go here

Extract from How to Make Sales When You Don’t Like Selling

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Are You at Risk of Losing Customers?

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Let me ask you a simple question; how many customers have you lost this month?

Is that making you feel just a teensy bit uncomfortable? I’m sure it’s not something you want to think about too much.

However it’s inevitable that you’ll lose customers and clients for a whole range of reasons, many of which are out with your control. That’s why it’s vital to keep finding and developing new customers.

Don’t let them leave

Finding new customers takes time and costs money, and I’m sure you’ve heard that it costs five times as much to find a new customer than it does to hold onto the ones you have.

So let’s consider how you get better at holding onto customers.

A recent survey suggested that customers leave a business for four basic reasons:

14% leave because they’re dissatisfied with the quality of the product or service

9% leave because of price

5% leave for other reasons such as they die, leave the area or have no further need for your product or service

And wait for it – A whacking great 72% leave because of “supplier indifference”

I loved that car

Let me give you an example of what I mean by supplier indifference.

A few years after starting my speaking business, the time came for me to trade in the basic (and much loved) second-hand Ford that I had been driving. The guy in the Mercedes showroom did a good selling job on me, and was a very happy boy with my new car.

But I never heard from that salesman or the car dealership again!

No one contacted me to ask if I was happy with my car. No one contacted me to ask if I wanted it serviced. No one contacted me after a couple of years to see if I wanted to trade it in for a new one.

Ironically, another Mercedes dealer kept sending me brochures and emails with details of their service and new models. So come the time to change cars, who was going to get the business? Certainly not the original car dealer!

Dare to care

Too many organisations give customers the impression that they don’t care about repeat business. I’ve stayed in hotels, dealt with banks and stores, and dealt with many suppliers who didn’t seem to care whether I came back or not. A member of staff at one budget airline recently told me, that if I didn’t like being delayed for two and a half hours then I could always go elsewhere.

We need to continually let our customers know that we care about them. We need to keep in touch, write to them, send them information and occasionally ‘phone them.

When they contact us we need to make sure we sound warm and friendly, pleased to hear from them, efficient and maybe even look and sound like we’re fun to do business with.

It’s not a lot different from our personal relationships. If we don’t keep telling the people close to us how much we care, or keep writing and ‘phoning, then we shouldn’t be surprised if they leave us one day.

Remember the saying – ‘When should you tell your other half that you love them? Before somebody else does!’

Use logic and emotion to keep customers. Give them the best products or service and give value for money. However, always remember, your competitors will be doing much the same thing. The difference will be determined by how you communicate either face to face, on the ‘phone, by letter or email.

Overall, customers just want to feel good. They want to feel better after they’ve dealt with you or anyone in your business, than they did before. If you can create that feeling, then you’re well on the way to keeping your customers.

If you want to listen to this article and download it to your Mp3 player, please go here

Extract from – How to Make Sales When You Don’t Like Selling

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This was the punch line to a joke a heard a few years ago. The question from the wife to her salesman husband was:

‘Did you get any orders to day darling?’

‘Yes I did; I got three orders – ‘Get out – stay out – and don’t come back!’

This is often the image people have of salespeople. Someone who is trying to sell a product or service to another person who doesn’t want it, doesn’t need it, and can’t afford it!


We tend to have a negative view about sales people. They’re not exactly up there with the doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and other professionals. They are often not even in the same league as trades’ people such as plumbers, carpenters or electricians.

It is rare for someone to describe themselves as a salesman or saleswoman. They usually describe themselves as sales executives, sales managers or sales engineers.


Every time I run a Sales Seminar for business people I ask the group how they feel about Sales and Selling. They come back with comments such as:

  • ‘It’s something you’ve got to do’
  • ‘I hate making cold calls’
  • ‘I hate receiving cold calls’
  • ‘Sales people can be really annoying’
  • ‘You’ve got to be a good talker’
  • ‘You need to be able to manipulate people’
  • ‘If you don’t put on the pressure then you wont get the sale’
  • ‘I’m not really a salesperson’

There are many more comments like this, and it may not surprise you to know that they all tend to be a bit negative about selling and salespeople.

Because of this negativity, many business people can feel a bit uncomfortable about selling their product or service. They don’t want to be seen as pushy or annoying to a potential customer. And of course, human beings have a huge fear of rejection. We just hate to hear the word ‘No!’  We will do almost anything to avoid rejection. And of course, fear of rejection stops people contacting customers, asking for an order, or some other form of commitment.


It’s fairly normal and understandable to feel this way, particularly if selling is not what you were trained to do. I occasionally do some electrical work around the house or even some mechanical work on the car. However, it’s not what I trained to do, so I can get a bit uncomfortable particularly when it starts to go wrong (electric shocks and bruised fingers are not unknown to me).

However, you need to find a way round all of this if you are to have a successful business.


There are two ways:

  1. You get them to come to you and buy your product or service
  2. You go to them and sell them your product or service

If you are not comfortable with number 2, the selling bit, here are some actions you can take to get customers to come to you. Or as I like to say – ‘Motivate them to Buy.’

  • Provide extraordinary customer service
  • Boost your business image
  • Have a great business name
  • Brand it – put your name on everything (talk to my friend about the T shirts)
  • Use business cards that do the business
  • Make sure your website is customer focussed
  • Network-network-network
  • Get active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Generate referrals
  • Make videos – get them on You Tube
  • Send good sales letters
  • Publish a newsletter
  • Write articles
  • Present seminars

And did I tell you to network?

So there you have it, and you haven’t even started selling yet.

If you want to listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, this is the link.

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5 Action-Ideas to Build Your Business

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1 – Make it easier for customers to say – “Yes” 

I was trying on a pair of shoes in a Departments Store recently. I really liked them, however I told the sales assistant that I’d come back and try them again when I had on more suitable clothes.

She immediately suggested that I buy the shoes, try them on at home, and if I didn’t like them to bring them back within thirty days for a full refund.

Needless to say I bought the shoes and didn’t take them back. Well done to this sales assistant, another sale to a satisfied customer. She made it easy for me to say “Yes”

So think of things you can do or say that’ll make easier for your customers.

2 – Make sure that everyone in the organisation is selling the business.

Service engineers, finance people, delivery drivers, administration, sales and customer service people, all communicate with your customers in both their business and personal life. They all need to be talking up the organisation they work for. The only way they’ll do this is, if they are motivated to do so.

You need to spend less time managing people and more time motivating them.

3 – Use your free Sales Force.

Many people tell me that much of their business comes by word of mouth. I can only assume that they have existing customers selling on their behalf at no cost to them.

Word of mouth is an excellent way to obtain new business; however don’t just wait for it to happen, do something to encourage it, and motivate new customers to come to you.

  • Make sure that you give existing customers fantastic service.
  • Ask customers to refer you to someone else.
  • Offer them an incentive to do it.
  • Offer a prize or extra discount or free product for the names of some potential customers.

4 – Sort complaints quickly.

You need to do all you can to minimise mistakes in your business however it’s inevitable that from time to time you’ll slip up and disappoint a customer.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world, as it can be an opportunity to demonstrate exceptional customer service.

If you recover well then it’s highly possible that a customer will forgive you and be really impressed by your service.

5 – Network more effectively.

Networking is an excellent and low cost way to find new customers.

Try to attend at least one networking event every week especially in the early evening.

There are networking clubs, Chambers of Commerce meetings, trade events, exhibitions etc.

Also remember; let people in your social life know what you do. No need to bore the pants off them, just subtlety let them know how your business benefits its customers.

So there you have it – 5 simple steps to help you motivate customers and build your business.

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please click this link

6 Steps to More Customers through Word of Mouth

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Let me ask you a simple question – do you want your customers to say positive things about your business to other people? I bet you do, because as we all know ‘word-of-mouth’ is one of the most effective and low cost ways to find new customers. And the most effective way to generate word-of-mouth is to provide extraordinary customer service.

Remember – the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little bit ‘extra.’

What is that little bit extra?

I recently decided that I needed a new pair of training shoes. I was suffering from sore calves after exercising and put it down to the state of my shoes. And before you say anything, there’s no way I’m putting it down to old age.

A visit to a local sports shoe store, resulted in me walking up and down the length of the store in my bare feet with my suit trousers rolled up to the knee. Two sales assistants were sitting on the floor watching my progress.

After much discussion between us they recommended two pairs of shoes that I should try. New shoes were purchased; no more sore calves, and I told you it wasn’t old age.

These sales assistants provided that little bit ‘extra.’ They made me feel important, they were warm and friendly, they responded to what I had to say and they listened to my complaints about my aching muscles. I’ve now recommended that sports shoe shop to several people.

Research tells us that customers want two basic things from a supplier:

Firstly; they want quality core service. – In other words, they expect your product or service to work; to do what you say it’ll do. However, do this alone, and you’ll only provide ‘ordinary’ service.

Secondly; they want friendly caring service. – They want to be acknowledged, to feel that someone is interested in them as an individual and that they’re cared about. This is what provides that little bit ‘extra.’

Six Steps to add that little bit extra and generate more word-of-mouth:

1. First impressions are vital – It therefore makes good sense to consider what you look like and sound like. In a face to face situation it’s important to make eye contact and smile. On the telephone, it’s not what you say as an initial greeting that matters, but more important how you say it.

2. Warm and friendly – This is what most people want and it makes your life easier also.

3. Use names appropriately – A person name is one of the warmest sounds they hear. It tells them that you have recognised them as an individual.

4. Respond – If a customer says something, the intention was for you to hear it. And if you hear it, it’s a good idea to acknowledge it. It doesn’t matter if it was about business or a personal matter.

5. Actively listen – When you think about it, most people aren’t very good listeners. We’d all rather be talking. You have to work hard at listening particularly if you want the other person to know that you care. Many people listen but don’t show that they’re listening. You’ve got to do all the nodding head stuff and look like you’re interested. And remember over the phone; occasionally make some indication that you’re still there.

6. Close positively – At the end of an interaction it’s a good idea to make a positive statement on a business level and a personal level. Say something like – “If you have any further questions then please phone me on this number, and have a great holiday next week!”

Make no mistake about it, providing friendly caring service creates that little bit extra, and generates lots of word-of-mouth for your business.

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player; please click this link.

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More Customers Come From More Moments of Truth

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How do you find new customers or clients for your business? It’s a question I often ask business people, usually because I’m hoping to learn something new.

The answer that comes back most often is – “Most of our customers come from word-of-mouth!”

So my next questions is – “So what do you do to generate more word-of-mouth?

I never really get an answer to that one.

There are many things you can do to generate word-of-mouth and I call them – ‘Moments of Truth’

It doesn’t take much

Some years back, I was running seminars for managers and customer service people from a UK bank. I was having a chat one day with the manger of the hotel where the seminars were taking place. We were discussing the participants on the course and he said – “These people are really nice, they are so easy to deal with.”

Do you think that this manager is a potential customer for the bank; you bet he is! And he could also have a positive influence on other people that he knows? That is a ‘Moment of Truth’ for the bank!

What do people say about your business?

People talk to each other about where they spend or invest their money. Sad to say, customers are more likely to tell others about a bad experience than a good one. However, they do talk about good service in a positive way, about the organisations they deal with. What would they say about yours?

Recently, I was running seminars for a software company. I was booked by the General Manager; however, I remember meeting the Sales Manager on several occasions. He was curt, unfriendly and somewhat dismissive. Maybe he had no reason to be friendly with me; after all, I’m unlikely to be a potential customer. However, I do move in business circles, and I even know some of his potential customers. I’ll let you work out the rest! – ‘Another ‘Moment of Truth’

Everyday of your life you are selling yourselves. Someone you or your colleagues talk to today, could be a future customer for your business. If not; then they might know someone who could be.

How many Moments of Truth have there been for your business today?

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please click this link

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You Need a Sloggo

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When was the last time you were at a networking event, or a business lunch, a seminar or an exhibition? It’s inevitable that someone will have asked you – “And what do you do?” The question is; how did you answer?

Perhaps you said – “I’m in the printing business.” Or I’m the sales manager for a software company.” Or I’m a Biodiversity Action Plan Co-ordinator.” (I saw this job advertised in the local paper, and haven’t a clue what it means!)

If you’re saying anything similar to this, then I want you to stop forthwith! It’s boring, it stops the conversation dead in its tracks, and it does nothing to help your business.

You need a ‘Sloggo’ – an ‘Elevator Speech’ – ‘A Sixteen Second Sizzler!’ Call it what you will, but it needs to be a brief description of what you do, and who you do it for.

There must be a benefit

It needs to be a benefit statement that offers value to your customer or client. It needs to be short and punchy (10-20 seconds) and encourage the other person to say – “Tell me more!”

You can have different Sloggos depending on whom you’re speaking to. It’s also something you would say when you call a prospective customer on the phone or leave a voice message. It should be on your outgoing voice mail messages, business cards, brochures, letterheads, website and email signature.

And just in case you haven’t worked it out yet; Sloggo is a combination of Slogan and Logo. It is not to be confused with Sloggi, the underwear people, unless your Sloggo turns out to be ‘pants!’

Practise, practise

Write out your Sloggo and practise until you’re comfortable with it, and it becomes part of you. It’s also important not to be glib or smart and it needs to come across with enthusiasm and energy. Try to associate what you do with good feelings, and appeal to the emotions.

However; once you have gained the other person’s interest, your goal is to find out about them and what their needs are. Only then can you ‘tailor’ what you say to suit the other person. Remember; they are not interested in all the wonderful things you do, they are only interested in ‘what’s in it for them.’


I like the interior decorator who says – “We are in the three bares business; we deal with bare walls, bare floors and bare ceilings!”

Or the insurance broker who says – “I buy insurance!” and when questioned he replies with – “I buy the best insurance to meet the needs of my clients”

And of course mine is – “I help clients motivate their customers, motivate their staff and motivate themselves!

I’m sure you can do a lot better than that; so go to it!

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please click this link

5 Benefits of Positive Feedback

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Do you remember how you felt after your last interaction with another person either on the phone or face to face? That person – it could have been a customer, a colleague, a salesperson, a friend or even a member of your family.

  • Did they make you feel good, uplifted and more positive?


  • Did they leave you feeling neutral?


  • Did they make you feel down and more negative?

Unfortunately, most of us have grown up in a negative culture where it’s much easier to tell people what they did wrong rather than praising them when they succeed.

Research in the United States found that 65% of employees received no recognition for good work in the past year.  Similar research in other countries of the world shows comparable results.
Other research has shown that the number one reason people leave their job, and customers take their business elsewhere, is that they don’t feel appreciated.
And if you think about it; many people leave their partners for the very same reason!

If customer’s leave an interaction with you or one of your team feeling better than they did before, then they’re much more likely to:

  • Come back
  • Recommend you to other people
  • Spend more with you.

If one of your team feels better after an interaction with you then they’re much more likely to pass that feeling onto a customer.

“The way you treat your staff is the way they’ll treat your customers” – Karl Albrecht

If you give five positive comments to one negative comment to the other people in your life, then you’ll have:

  1. More happy customers
  2. A workplace that’s more productive and more fun
  3. More friends
  4. Better relationships
  5. A healthier, happier and longer life

Remember – “Hand out warm glows, not dampeners.”

To listen to this post, please click –  The Benefits of Positive Feedback

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Are You at Risk of Being Misunderstood

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Do the people you come into contact with know what your business is all about or what you do for a living?

I was talking with my friend Susan recently about another friend, Carole, who has just started her own business. “I’ve asked Carole twice about her business and I’m still not sure what she does” said Susan.

We both agreed that the business had something to do with event organisation but we weren’t really clear.

This is a real pity because Susan, as the General Manager of a local business could use the services that Carole offers. However she’s unlikely to do so when she doesn’t know what it’s about.

When people ask you what you do or what your business is about, make sure you say something that grabs their attention and makes them want to hear more.

What you say needs to be:

  • A brief description that says exactly what you do and who you do it for
  • A benefit statement that offers value to your customer or client
  • Short and punchy – 10 to 20 seconds maximum
  • Not glib or sickly
  • Variable – you should have different statements depending on who you’re speaking to
  • Delivered with enthusiasm and energy
  • Associated with good feelings – appeal to the emotions
  • Something you can use on various occasions – over the phone – on your business cards – brochures – website – email signature – letterheads
  • Something that grabs attention and makes the other person want to learn more

Here are some examples of benefit statements from people in –

A computer or software business – “I show small business people how to get more out of their computer systems so that they can improve their customer service and get more sales.”

A marketing business – “We improve a company’s image so that they can get more profit from their business.”

A financial business – “I show people how to save money so that they can have an enjoyable retirement.”

So put this to the test – write out your benefit statement and practise it until you’re comfortable with it and it becomes part of you.

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