Recent research on career success of MBAs at Stanford University reveals that, 10 years later, the ability to connect and communicate had a much greater impact than grade point average.
It turns out that the ability to make a favorable impression in short, casual conversations (i.e., “small talk”) makes a huge difference.
Where that ability pays the biggest dividends in sales, of course, is when meeting prospects and referral sources for the first time. Some useful tips:
·Listen intently. People like to talk about themselves and you can draw them out if you resist the temptation to dominate the conversation.
·Pay attention to your body language. Look people in the eye, and act confident even if you are not. You will seem more approachable if you tilt your head and smile subtly.
·Open with neutral questions. For example, “Hi, I’m Bill. What do you think of the speaker?” or “Aren’t these crab puffs delicious?”
Give conversation partners undivided attention. If you are sincerely interested in their answers, most people will be flattered. Later on you develop the relationship beyond small talk.
Source: A post by Nicki Weiss at www.selfgrowth.com
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