Selling success with networking and small talk: sympathy counts

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Regardless of the environment in which we operate or in which industry we operate: no success without a network - neither professional nor private. Skilled small talk helps to get in touch more easily and market yourself better. Best of HR –®

Here writes for you:


Oliver Schumacher Oliver SchumacherOliver Schumacher is sales trainer and speaker.


From the author:





Sympathy for the think-tank

As soon as two strange people meet for the first time, a sympathy test is unconsciously carried out. Within a matter of seconds, thought-books are opened:

Either sympathetic or unsympathetic and thus automatically the generalization in competent or incompetent. This evaluation reflex is based on the human primal instincts that our early ancestors needed to survive.

Friend or foe?

When people who were fiercely at that time met, people had to decide immediately whether they were a friend or a foe - with the corresponding consequences such as attack or flight.

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If two strange people meet each other today, the first impression is very quickly shaped by the expression of the body (such as body posture, facial expression, gesture) and clothing. Or on the phone, for example, by the voice itself, as well as the first words.

The fear of rejection

The fear of rejection keeps many people from seeking contact with other people. For the following reasons:

  • What is to be said of cleverness?
  • How should we react if the person who is addressed reacts differently than desired?
  • What do the others think when they see that you are looking for a stranger?

Often something new

It is quite common for two colleagues to go to a congress or a seminar, sit side by side - and in the evening on the way home, they have not even met a new person, but actually have only remained together.

Some may object that they are not afraid to speak to strangers at events. Who likes to admit that they're scared? This inability to have inhibitions when speaking to people is often talked about nicely, for example with “I just don't like speaking to strangers!” or "I don't need to speak to anyone!".

Inhibitions are expensive!

In the business world, inhibitions are the most expensive thing there is. Because while one speaks unobtrusively with many people and “networks”, another, who is perhaps even more interesting, stays below his possibilities because he stays alone or always in the same circles.

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But people now buy from people. And customers can only buy from those who know them, or at least recommend them.

 People buy from people

As a rule, a person is very uncomfortable with strangers when, for example, they want to sell something to others immediately during the break discussions. That is why it is elementary, not with the attitude “I want to sell something - let’s see who I can sell to today!” going to events, but with the mindset “Let's see what 5 interesting people I’ll meet today.”

On the one hand, in the latter variant, the goal is towards strangers who are clearly appreciative, and on the other hand it is set at 5. If you make a few more contacts right away, you do not run the risk of sticking to the whole event at the first contact, but maybe after a few minutes or in the next break contact another stranger.

Find common ground

Addressing is very easy if you address similarities. For example, “How did you like the last lecture?” or “And, could you take something from the event with you?”.

It is also conceivable to go to a bar table, where only (still) strangers are romping, with the sentence "Hello, may I stand by?" But also addressing other people in the event rooms, for example in the canteen or on the way to or from the toilet or the parking lot, is also conceivable.

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Talking is silver, listening is gold!

It is important to let the conversation partner talk - and not to play too much into the foreground. People like to talk about themselves, or about others. The more you listen to your conversation partner seriously and interested, the more comfortable it will feel.

And as soon as the conversation comes to an end, the exchange of business cards can be addressed quite aggressively: If someone in the group says, "What do you think if we exchange business cards again briefly?" reaches into his inside pocket to take out his business cards, and all too often others do the same for him.

The aftermath

Later in the office, there is more to research about the person: Can you network with them, for example via XING or LinkedIn? Are there any professional links to discuss them in a telephone call?

If, therefore, the telephone conversation is made following the personal conversation, the conversation is significantly easier. For now there are first similarities, namely the entertainment at the event. This means that the person who is called is more likely to be much more interested and sympathetic.

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