Talking to People About Your Business: Confidence, Wasting Time and Likeability

Is Your New Business Your Baby?

On 3/14, Tanya Smith and Tai Goodwin interviewed me on their BlogTalk Radio show, Your First 20 Clients for a segment, How to Talk to Strangers (and Friends) About Your New Business.

This blog post is the seventh in a series based on that show (I’m transcribing it one question at a time).

Today’s question is from 33:20 to 42:45 in the hour-long audio of the show.

Tanya:  So what are some other mistakes that new business owners tend to make when they’re talking about their business, Diane?

Diane: Well, I would say, they’re not confident.  When you’re talking about new business owners, I see a lot of them that are hesitant. It’s almost like they’re a little ashamed that they’re talking about their business.

They come across as hesitant because they don’t want you to reject them.  I mean, it’s their new baby, especially if they’re a new business owner—it’s like someone telling you your baby is ugly. (laughter)

It’s like, maybe I should just keep my baby under the blanket so no one will tell me that it’s ugly!

I think what will happen there . . . 2 things:  they either lack, somewhat, a belief in themselves or a belief in their business.

They need to decide what is the problem here?  Is it because I don’t think my business is that good?  Which would be a little odd, but it does happen.  I’ve seen it happen more often with people who are involved in a multi-level marketing direct sales kind of thing, where it’s not something they started—it’s another entity and they become a distributor or whatever of that business and they don’t know enough yet to feel confident in their knowledge.  They’re afraid someone is going to ask them a question that they don’t know the answer to.

But usually you don’t see that from people who’ve started a business from scratch.  You see that more when they take on a business.

We bought a business in 2007 that sold technology equipment.  I’m, like, “I can’t talk about that business because I don’t know that much!”  I learned, but at first I was hoping that no one would ask me a question because I didn’t know everything to answer the question.

The other, and probably bigger issue, is self-esteem, where they maybe don’t think that they’re worthy of others paying attention to what they have to say about the business.

What I can say to that is, I can remember when I started out as a speaker, I would get a little nervous talking in front of a group.  Part of it was because I was afraid I was going to screw up and make a fool of myself.  Well, you know, the fear of public speaking is greater than the fear of death, although, I never quite understood that.  But, it’s still pretty high up there.

But, what made the difference for me, and this would be sort of like if you had a product you believed in, is that what I had to offer was a gift.  I was giving a gift.  What I was giving was special and worthy.  It wasn’t really about me.  It was about them.  I was giving them something special.

To have a belief in what you’re doing can help with the conviction.

That would probably be the biggest thing I see—that they’re hesitant and then often, I think, they maybe spend too much time on things that don’t actually result in profits.

I think I just read a blog or something that you wrote, Tai, on “Six things why social networking isn’t working for you” or something like that.  What was the title of that? I’m trying to remember what that was.

Tai: I think it was “Six Reasons Why Social Networking Isn’t Working.”

Diane: People can spend a lot of time on social networking for business and not get results from it.  They see themselves spending time.  Or, you can spend a lot of time getting your files set up.  I’ve done all of this stuff, so, I know.

They’re not spending time on the things that actually result in income.

Tai: That’s so true.  So, so true.  I think that the second thing– You know, you said right before that, about people feeling rejected . . . there was another article I wrote—it was about “The Two Things I Hate to Hear Women Say about Sales and Marketing.”

“Oh, it’s so hard.”

Or, “It’s so scary.”

It really is because we think the person is rejecting us when we tell them about our business.  It’s not that they’re rejecting us.  It’s probably just not a good fit for what they need.

If I don’t need soap, I don’t care how nice you are.  If you try to sell me some soap, I’m not going to buy it. I’ll be friends with you and I’ll say, “Hi,” but I’m not going to buy it.

Diane: You will be surprised at how much people will buy if they like you.

Tai, Tanya: Yeah, yeah.

Diane: There’s a lot to . . . influences to persuasion.  I wish I could remember the title of the book I read recently . . . for example, reciprocity . . . if you do something for someone, they feel like they should do something for you.

If you have someone over or pay for coffee or something, they’re more inclined to want to do something for you.

So, there are things that people can learn.  The biggest thing is to believe in what you have and to be likeable.

If people like you, they will want to be around you.  If they need even at all what you have to offer, they want to buy.  Maybe they won’t buy, but it’s not that they don’t want to.

Tai: We mentioned that book before as one of the resources.  I think it’s called The Likeability Factor.

Diane: That’s not one I’ve read.  I read a different one.  But, there’s a lot of good books out there.

Speaking of a really good networking book, one that I didn’t write, but I just finished reading it, was Never Eat Alone. Have you read that one?

Tanya: Yes. Is it Keith or Kenneth Ferrazzi?

Diane: It’s Keith—I can’t remember how to pronounce his last name–but it’s something like Ferrazzi.

He does it, maybe on a grander scale with his dinner parties, but he has so many good examples of how he was persistent in developing a relationship and helping people.  He got so good at helping people and connecting people—I found it inspiring.

Tai: He sends out lots of weekly tips for little networking “nuggets.”

Diane: That book was recommended to me by someone I was networking with.

It’s amazing the things that come into your life if you get out of your comfort zone and meet people.  I’m just continually amazed at the people I meet just because I happen to go to something.

If you think about all the significant relationships that aren’t relatives and how you first met that person . . . I met my husband at a party that I hadn’t planned on going to.

There are probably some very important people that will be in your life a year from now that you haven’t even met.

A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet

Tanya: You know, Diane, I think that is such a great point.  That speaks a lot to my own life, too, because I’ve been very much an introvert for most of my life, until I turned 30, years ago.

One of the things that got me out of my shell and got me really into establishing deeper and wider relationships was direct sales, just like you.  I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sell anything if I didn’t open my mouth and introduce myself.

So, my director at the time, said, “OK, Tanya, open mouth, open store.  Close mouth, close store.  And I never forgot that.  I never forgot that.  That’s what I live by now.

Open mouth, open store.  Close mouth, Close store.

Again, as introverted as I can be naturally, I have now become a lot more aware and more conscious of the great, the brilliant relationships that I’ve built because of opening my mouth.

Diane: Well, if you think about it, your friends were once all strangers.  So, you could look at a stranger as a friend you haven’t met yet.


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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