Be Specific

Everyone, Someone, No-one!

  1. Who knows anyone?
  2. Who knows everyone?
  3. Who knows someone?

Using non-specific directions, like anyone and everyone to describe the people you are looking for in your one-minute presentation, is an almost guaranteed way to end up with one person, Mr Nobody!

How many times a week do you hear people asking for general, non-specific contacts?

The problem with non-specifics is that they tend to de-focus the mind. If people are asking for everyone with cars, or all the people you know who own houses, your mind tends to dismiss the request as there is nothing to focus on. We all know so many people with cars and houses that our brain cannot focus or narrow down to one person quickly. It is much better to give the mind a focus, or subject to think about.

Here’s an example. Think about a car.

Not much to work on there is there?

Try this.

Think about a fast-red car.

How many thought of a Ferrari?

The mind needs hooks to latch thoughts onto so be as specific as you can. It is amazing how specific you can be when you make requests at your network meeting Remember the people around the table know many more people than you, and the chances are that one will have the contact you are looking for.

If you want to do business with a certain company then ask for an introduction to a decision maker in that company. Why not phone up the company and ask the name of the person responsible for what you want to offer? You don’t have to talk to them (the chances are the receptionist will not put you through anyway).

In your next one minute presentation, you can say you want to speak to Jane Smith, who is the purchasing manager at Acme Widgets Incorporated because you would like to show her how your service can save her money. Don’t be surprised when you end up in a meeting with Jane Smith. But you should not expect miracles or for it to be an instant process, you may have to ask several times over several months before you get the connection you want, but unless you ask you will never have a chance.

My own classic example of this is when I asked to speak to the Managing Director of a local company. I was told by one of the members that they were teaching the persons mother to use their computer later that day. To cut a long story short, less than a week later I was in front of my requested Managing Director, talking about their companies marketing and how I could help. Remember, it pays to ask for specific people.

If you are not looking for a specific company but a specific industry, do not be general, be specific. You might, for example, say you are looking for contacts that are working in the panel beating industry on the south side of town. In the one statement, you have been general, but you have given your Chapter members something to focus on, an industry – panel beating, and a geographical area – the south side. Being geographically specific is so much better than looking for anyone who works in panel beating, as it starts people thinking about who they know, who operate in that area, this then allows their mind to open and remember other panel beaters they know. Do not be surprised if you are asked by a member if it is okay to give you a contact to a panel beater on the north side of town.

If you want to be even more general, without using non-specific language, try giving members a ‘for instance’. You might ask them to talk to people they know who need to calm down, so you can show them your new range of relaxation tapes, or people with children who are about to go to university who might benefit from some prudent financial planning. If you give members a problem or a circumstance to focus on they will be able to do something about it.

There is an Arabic saying that if you put a carrot on either side of a camel, it will starve to death. Think about it.

In order to make your presentations specific, you need to make a list of potential customers and some characteristics which will allow your fellow members to focus on people they know, who fit the model you suggest.

Do you know who your average customer is, or your most profitable type of customer?

If you don’t you probably need to sit down and work it out. Knowing your market and your customers’ needs is essential if you are going to succeed in business, never mind just in your networking meetings.

Another tactic is to be very eccentric with your request. For example, you might request to be put in touch with people who have red hair, or someone who is a twin, any characteristic that is strange. Everyone knows a twin and everyone knows someone with red hair. If you get people thinking, you never know where it will lead.

Like all good marketing, the more you can target what you are looking for, the more effective it is. Be specific in your requests and you will be surprised at the results.

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