How many times have you not purchased something because you didn’t like the sales approach? When the kiosk sales guy stops me at the mall and tells me I should be a model, I’m not buying- unless he can immediately point me to an agent recruiting 36 year old, 5’ flat models.

How many times have you bought something because you liked the person sharing the story of the product enough to entertain the purchase? Let’s revisit the same kiosk and the same product. Imagine a woman politely asks if she can show me her favorite product. Or if she’s offering compliments, they’re believable, like, “Those heels are fantastic”…I could buy that one. I actually have a fantastic high heel collection. This woman has the potential to sell me if she knows her product.

Your most important asset is not your virtual network – it’s your real one. Every successful executive and entrepreneur will tell you, their most important asset is their network, and they don’t mean social network. I have 2k+ LinkedIn connections. Do I have 2k+ job opportunities from those connections beating down my doors? Hell no. The business I have coming in is word of mouth from my real network. In thinner times, many of those connections can be leveraged, but not without creating real dialogue. Some may say it’s archaic, but the best deals still close with a handshake. Handwritten thank you notes still hold more power than a “thank you for your time” email, likely more than ever, now, due to rarity. Find ways to be real. Find ways to connect.

When opportunity knocks, it’s a person knocking … and answering. Other factors certainly come into play, but opportunity is always a result of real engagement. As much as we like to fantasize about opportunities falling in our laps, the truth is, that happens about as often as a Pretty Woman romance becomes a reality. So yes, by all means, be active in your online community; update your LinkedIn profile, use digital marketing to tell your story, but be authentic and don’t stop there. Pick up the phone (and make a telephone call), secure the meeting and close the deal with a handshake.

 

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