Remember your ABCs – of business development

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 by Gary Hunt

By Thera Gialluca, OSCPA Strategic Relationship Manager

When kindergarteners walk into the classroom on the first day of school, they experience the sudden stress of unfamiliar territory, strange faces and the challenge of selling themselves to win over the crowd.

That should sound familiar to anyone who has done any business networking. For many children, networking seems to come naturally to them as they work the room and make connections. You might be thinking, “Sure, it’s easier for them because they are trying to make friends, not meet clients.” But, it doesn’t have to be harder for you. And to be successful, approach business development like a kindergartner and remember your ABCs: 

Acknowledge your person of interest. In school, kids gravitate towards those with similar interests. You can take this approach as well. Focus on finding someone easy to connect with. Helpful hint: look for someone who ordered the same drink/appetizer, wears a similar clothing style or aren’t already engaged in conversation. To break the ice, focus on the thing you have in common.

Befriend. Engage in a conversation as if you were exploring the possibility of a new friendship. What do you know about your friends? Unless you are telepathic, you likely had to ask questions to get to know them on a personal level. The more you get to know someone, the more they trust you and let their guard down.

Connect. Sales generally don’t happen overnight. In some cases, your person of interest might not even be a direct lead. However, think about a phrase we hear often: “What a small world.” In business development, that small world is a beautiful thing. Even if you don’t make a direct sale, those connections might one day be the reason your phone rings with a referral or new business lead.

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