I’ve always been fascinated with boomerangs. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to throw one that came back to me. Now I know why – they’re not Frisbees. You need to toss them vertically (see video below for a quick and easy way to craft a no cost boomerang at home – could be a fun project if you have kids in your life) to make them work.
Imagine if you could design a device that did the same with everyone you met, bringing small business connections back to you automatically as colleagues, followers, friends, referral agents and clients. While that doesn’t exist yet (and it’s probably a good thing – mind control has a huge downside), there are some easy ways you can encourage people to remember you often and fondly.
- Discover another’s needs first instead of pushing yours. Think pitching and shoving business cards into all the ears and hands you can find at a networking event is a good strategy? Think again. Everyone is doing that. Stand out by asking questions first to discover what really grabs your dialog partner (pitches are so one-sided – and self-centered).
- Send prospects leads, articles of interest (your questions will help you find out what’s relevant), hand-written congratulatory notes and occasional e-mails on resources you discover that should resonate with your new-found potential friend, colleague or client.
- Try to see the world the way they do. Just because you’re a driven, focused, analytical type, doesn’t mean the person you’re talking to speaks the same language. The Golden Rule doesn’t work very well when your goal is to forge meaningful relationships. What’s important to you may be extremely uncomfortable for someone else. Understanding another’s style and adjusting your approach will make you more appreciated and memorable than most.
- Make your message about the listener’s or reader’s issues, not your accomplishments (or features or benefits or purchase offerings). Subtle has always been maligned by the sales gurus, but it works. Credibility, integrity and empathy are far greater tools in building relationships, referrals and friends dedicated to supporting you than a hard sell.
- Be patient. Unless you’re a believer of love at first sight (and even if you are, this isn’t usually a good ideal to apply to business relationships), it takes time to build trust. If you get discouraged because someone didn’t sign up as a client, referral agent or associate the moment you made the first kind gesture, you’re going to have a tough time thriving as a small business owner. Conversely, you’ll be amazed at how the seeds you sowed years ago come back to grow your small business connections and revenue in ways you never imagined.
The first part of this video featuring boomerang building (about three minutes) is the fun part. It teaches you how to create this toy with a postcard, scissor and stapler, then how to throw it so it works. Honestly I didn’t get to the end (it’s about 30 minutes total) as my eyes started glossing over with all the equations.
Do take at least a few minutes to enjoy the start. I’m grateful to this guy for helping me discover why my boomerangs failed when I was a kid. Of course, I blamed it on the device, not my technique. That’s always the easy answer for why things don’t go our way, isn’t it?
Spend a little bit of time trying to figure out why your approach isn’t working. You might be surprised at how quickly it does with some adjustments. You can turn frustrations into small business success with an eye toward how you can help another rather than cajole. Could something as simple as replacing a pitch approach with questions instead rocket you to prosperity? Why not give it a shot? Stay the course and you’ll likely be amazed at how your good will boomerangs with referrals from people you no longer remember.