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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From negative to positive

I've enjoyed reading this posting by Ford Harding (and you can see the next installment by checking his blog). He outlines some common false assumptions and reasons for not doing the things we are supposed to do to build sales -- excuses that I admit to finding very close to home.

I especially can relate to this point:

Why bother going to an association meeting when I hate doing it and am no good at small talk?
Why? Because it is a highly efficient way to meet and catch up with many market contacts. Also, because networkers know that there is no such thing as small talk; there is only business talk and relationship talk. And finally, because you don’t have to be good at small talk. You need to listen to other people, so that you learn about them.
I solve this problem by going with a purpose -- of course I'm a journalist/writer by trade, so that is the role I rightfully play. At a recent association meeting I listened with interest as the owners representative and general contractor described an exciting $500 million building project, with great pictures. A brief conversation at the end of the meeting and some follow up and, voila, we have a solid revenue-generating feature.

But I also appreciate that "going with a purpose" does not necessarily mean "going to sell". In fact, my attitude at these meetings is virtually always to listen, to learn, and to help others, perhaps by bringing some connections or mutually beneficial ideas. It certainly isn't a game of counting business cards, or "gathering leads" -- I think if I attended association events with such an overt attitude I wouldn't sell a thing.

But I get ideas -- and tomorrow have some follow-up to do from today's Toronto Construction Association meeting. Indeed, it pays to go and participate in relevant associations.

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