How do you grow your client base? I was recently quoted in an article on expanding your business with confidence.
By: ANN BROWN
Some executive leaders are born with it; other develop it. “Social Jujitsu” is the charisma that draws people and potential clients to you like a magnet. In the martial arts world, at its base the Japanese martial art of Jiujitsu is a method of defeating an opponent without a weapon. "Ju" is usually translated as "gentle, supple, flexible, pliable." And "Jitsu" is translated to mean "art" or "technique." Some experts say you can use the philosophy of jujitsu in the business world as the way to woo and win over colleagues and new business. But as with any art form, you have to develop and master the techniques.
Become more of who you are
The worse thing is to pretend to be someone you aren´t. So don´t fake it. “You don't develop a winning personality. You have one. Don't try to be someone you're not. The trick is letting it out,” says Mike Schultz, president and founder of RAIN, who is also a second degree black belt in Seirenkai Jujitsu. Adds Shari Goldsmith of Shari- Life Coach for Women, “Be you; true-to-you-authenticity is attractive. People can spot dishonesty a mile away.”
The basics matter
Don´t throw common courtesy out of the window. Be polite and engaging. “Smile, offer a firm but not death grip handshake and open body language. Light touch is an HR no-no, but it's connecting,” Schultz points out.
Do your homework
All clients appreciate knowing you have taken the time to study their company and their needs. They will be more attracted to you and what you are offering. “Know that you are offering your client something they need. Be aware of how you perceive your product or services. You are not simply asking for something from them but potentially solving a problem they have. Inquire about what they want to improve in their lives or business and explain how you can help them,” says Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Nerina Garcia-Arcement, Clinical Assistant Professor at Dept. of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine and of the Williamsburg Therapy and Wellness.
Be all ears
Merely rattling off a sales pitch is an empty gesture. Listen to what is being said to you, what is being asked of you. “Listen more than you talk, but don't make it all listening,” says Schultz.
Apply the personal touch
You don´t need to tell a complete stranger or a potential client your life story, but sprinkle in personal bits into your conversation. “Don't be afraid to talk about personal things,” advises Schultz. “When you let your personality and personal life shine through, it can be very comforting to people who care about the same things. You have to find mutual areas of connection to build rapport.” Goldsmith agrees. “People want to do business with people that they like and trust. Focus on letting others see the real you and be consistently kind and honest,” she adds.
And, when you share, seek out information about your client. “Don't see people as just potential clients, see them as individuals you can get to know on a personal basis. Be friendly, look for potential connections and common interests. This will help everyone feel more comfortable. For example, you both might have small children or enjoy the same sport,” stresses Dr. Garcia-Arcement. “Once you know your clients on a more personal level, this aids in breaking the ice at the next meeting. Inquire about their family, their favorite sport or recent trip. This will help everyone feel like they are doing business with a friend instead of a stranger.”
Throw out bias and discriminatory tendences
Never make assumptions. Not only is it a good rule in life but business as well. “Treat everyone the same, no matter what their station in life. You never know where your future business is going to come from. Don't judge,” says Goldsmith.
Dare to be different
Being cookie cutter is boring. You want people to be excited about doing business with you, about having you around. “Be unique--know what makes you different and play it up,” says Goldsmith.
Do unto others..
The “me” generation has come and gone. When possible, help someone on a project. “Help others succeed. Focus on helping others succeed at their goals, and it will come back to you,” says Goldsmith.
Confidence is dynamic
If you're timid about or unsure of yourself, your product/services, then how can you expect a customer to be eager to do business with you? “Feel confident in your product or service. Know why the product is worth selling. If you know the virtues of the product or services, it will show in your sales pitch,” advises Dr. Garcia-Arcement.
As a small business owner, you´re always on call. You have to be ready to tell someone about your product at a moment´s notice—and with passion. People tend to respond to this approach just because of the sheer enthusiasm. “Prepare the proverbial elevator speech. This speech is best if you don't have a lot of time and want to get the client's attention. What would you say about the product you are selling if you only had a few moments with a client? If you have that prepared and memorized, it will reduce your anxiety the next time you approach a client,” says Dr. Garcia-Arcement.
Martial arts mindset
Martial arts philosophies can easily be applied to business and business situations. “As far as jujitsu, the best conversation and connection application is a concept called kuzushi. Kuzushi literally means unbalancing, and it's applied as a redirecting of energy from one direction gently but specifically to another,” explains Schultz, author of the bestseller Rainmaking Conversations. “If you know where you want to go in a conversation, you can gently move it down to that path from wherever it's going. But do it subtly. For example, if you want to talk about an exciting project you're working on, don't just start talking..Just ask the other person, 'What's the most exciting thing you're working on.' They'll share, and then they'll ask you. At the same time, they're thinking 'what a great conversationalist,' and you got them to do what you wanted without forcing it.”
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