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relationships are the context of our lives

6 ways to connect with success, through others


08 JUL 23

An accomplished [salesperson, manager, coach, teammate, spouse] will frequently find themselves connecting to customers, other employees, friends—pretty much everybody—the same. How many times have I said: human beings act according to human nature.

So, building a brand, making sales, managing an office—whatever you’re doing with others, you’re making personal connections. If you’re not making connections, you’re probably holding back, and that’s going to work against you. Sometimes that’s okay—maybe even for the best. But when your role is to actively reach out and connect, remember how human these guidelines are:

Remember, selling is just one kind of connection. All of these guidelines work for whatever kind of human connections you want to make. When you act genuinely human, you’re building trust in your personal brand. This gives people the confidence to buy-in to what you’re saying. The rest logically follows right behind.

  1. Understand who the other person is. What’s in their head? Where do they hurt, and what are they afraid of? What do they expect of you, and how can you exceed their expectations? This isn’t as hard as it might seem. When you start paying attention, many times it’s similar to you, or people you’re familiar with.
  2. Work with the big picture in mind. Life doesn’t just happen in a 20-foot radius around you. Think about the other person’s context. Their reality is important. They may only be buying a tire, or working on a short-term assignment with you, but like you, they have a bigger picture. Act as if you are in that bigger picture, and they’ll notice. It will bring you better connections.
  3. Think in terms of critical conversations. You get this from understanding the other person (see above) and addressing the things that are most important to them. If you don’t already know that person—like a customer that’s new to you, or a new boss—show that you’re interested by asking friendly, probing questions. Even if you’ve asked other people the same questions a hundred times before, don’t ask like they’re part of a script. Ask with genuine interest (see below) and let the answers surprise you. Never be presumptuous and get to the end before the other person.
  4. Speak and act without an agenda. That’s working from your heart—it sometimes knows how to get somewhere, better and faster, than your brain. Your heart is genuine, and people can feel that. They tend to trust it. This always fits: doing the right thing, is always the right thing to do. Especially over the long-term, this will make people want to connect with you. And for the short-term, working with this kind of attitude will absolutely make the right connections.
  5. Present your message to the gut. That sounds funny, but people have barriers and filters in their brain that you can’t always get through. So, no connection. But when you speak to things they know are true in their gut, you avoid their filters. One of the most powerful ways to connect through the gut, sociologists call reciprocity, and it lives in every culture on planet earth. At Connect we call it a Fair Trade…it’s something that everyone recognizes because it’s part of our human nature. You make a strong connection, when you make sure the other person understands that they’re getting a fair trade for whatever they contribute to you. Let’s say you’re selling used cars. Can a more expensive car be a better value? That depends on the person, so you have to probe to understand what they value. Value is the same proposition, no matter what kind of connection you’re trying to make.
  6. Do you want something from someone else? …then you know your what you’re talking about forward and backwards. That’s not just a catchy line, it’s important. Forward is all the facts…the features and benefits, the pros and cons. Backward is understanding how the other person thinks and feels about the facts. In selling a product or service—or selling yourself, which you do all the time—you have to be able to shift gears with the terrain. Go with the speed that the other person sets. It’s their journey—you’re just along for the ride.

Remember, relationships are the context of our lives. There are all kinds of connections to make, and all of these guidelines work for whatever kind of human connections you want to make. When you act genuinely human, you’re building trust in your personal brand. Trust not only gives people the confidence to buy into what you’re saying, but wherever you’re going, you won’t get there without trust.

Once you're done with this post...

You’re going to want to practice these steps, so do a little brainstorming and come up with a couple of simple things that you can’t get without connecting to someone else. Start with something like going out to lunch. Do a little probing to see what the other person likes/values. Maybe they like new experiences (maybe they like someone else to buy!). Use what’s in the steps to get them to go where you want, or try the food you love. You might want to take some notes on a number of these experiments. We’re really big on the experience of journaling!

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