Starting a Business? Talk to Lots of People Every Day

Starting a Business? Talk to Lots of People Every Day[EXTRACT]
Whether through networking, attending meetings, or business lunches there is nothing more magical for a business (new or established) than when the owner gets out from behind his or her desk and interacts with others.Talking to people uncovers new ideas and opportunities. It’s a way to keep a pulse on business in your city or industry, to be on the inside track about changes in technology that could affect you short-term or long, and to stay on top of trends.More than talking, talking to lost of people has more to do with listening than talking. Many years ago, I was preparing for a conference call with a highly successful writer and authority in his field. I fretted over what points to cover, what questions to ask, and how to determine how I could tempt this author into working with us.

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Fifteen minutes before the call, I spoke with a colleague who was working on this project with me and would be a part of the call. After listening to me express my concerns and worries about the call, he said, “If you want this to be a great call and get him to buy into the deal, spend 80% of your time listening and 20% talking.”I followed that advice. It was tough. During the first 20 minutes I felt like someone had duct taped my mouth closed. I briefly described our mission and what we had in mind. I listened. Along the way I asked only a few questions.The call took 44 minutes. At the end, we had total buy-in from the author – considerably more than we had hoped for or expected. In fact, at the end of the call, he said to us, “Great call. I’m looking forward to working with you guys.”

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I have a friend here in Manhattan who never eats lunch alone. That’s his policy. And he’ll do exactly that at least 4 days a week. This is his connection to the world.He doesn’t sell. He talks a little. But mostly he listens. This technique has put him at the top of his profession (earnings wise)… and keeps him there.You’ll notice that a willingness to talk to lots of people has nothing to do with selling. But it is amazing how well the approach sells.