I am a member of and attend meetings of a range of networking groups. At those meetings the question is invariably raised as to how members can identify opportunities to refer to other members in the group.
My answer to this question never changes – ACTIVE LISTENING!
The way I illustrate how this works is by reference to the following story told to me by a client:
“Over a cup of coffee, I met with the BDM of a large coaching company. Almost the first words out of my mouth were that I was already working with a business coach.
It was like the air was taken out of the sails of the BDM. Whilst he persevered through the conversation of selling the services of the coaching company, I could see & feel he was going through the motions. I believe he had concluded there was no opportunity to make a sale.”
In debriefing this story, I pose the following questions together with the learnings I believe business owners should take away:
- Where is the focus of the BDM? On himself
- What is the BDM trying to achieve? Sell coaching services to my client.
- What is the BDM’s missed opportunity? My client is a busy man and already has a business coach. However, my client said yes to meet with the BDM when he could have easily said no. The BDM never tried to find out why he said yes nor how he could help my client beyond coaching services.
If you want to identify how to help someone, I believe the focus of any conversation must be on the person you are speaking with. To help someone, you must first understand where they need help.