What To Say To People Who Only Talk About Themselves
When’s the last time you attended a networking event? If you’re like me, you regularly network as a means to build your community and grow your business.
At said networking events, have you ever encountered the person who’s only interested in talking “at” you about their business? The person doesn’t seem the least bit interested in you or your business. I describe this experience as having someone word vomit all over me. I know, it’s not a pretty visual and yet it happens time and time again.
A good friend and fellow entrepreneur shared with me how recently she met someone at a networking event and they set up a virtual coffee chat over Skype. The intent of the coffee chat was to learn more about each other. My friend said after an extended Skype chat, she got off the call and realized the woman never asked my friend one question about herself or her business. The woman only talked about herself. My friend was left feeling uncomfortable about the whole experience. She said she liked the woman and found her interesting and yet there was a lack of connection. I asked her if she would ever do business with this woman and her response was, “No, she wasn’t interested in me at all.”
A few weeks ago, I did a training for a Mastermind group of entrepreneurs on how to get the most out of networking. One of the tips I shared was about how to create curiosity when answering the typical questions people ask like, “How are you?” One of the members of the group asked, “What do you do when the other person is only interested in talking about themselves?” The rest of the group groaned and agreed that this happens a lot at networking.
It’s important to remember, sometimes it’s up to us to set the example of authentic connecting and good etiquette when networking. Maybe the person who’s only talking about themselves is new to networking, maybe their nervous, or maybe they really aren’t interested in getting to know you. Whatever the reason, YOU get to decide if and how you want to continue to build rapport. When I’m the potential client, I’m less likely to make additional effort because I want people to earn my business and be interested in solving my problem and meeting my need. However, if the person is a prospective client or someone I’d like get to know better, I’ll make the additional effort to connect.
Here’s what I shared with the mastermind group and this is your Savvy Sales Tip this week: When you’re in a conversation with someone at a networking event and they’re only talking about themselves, you might kindly interject to check to see if they’re interested to know about you as well. You might say, “It’s been so interesting to learn about you, thank you for sharing. I wonder if you might like to know a little bit about what I do?” When you ask this question in a kind tone of voice, what do you think the person’s response is likely to be? Chances are you’ll get an opportunity to share about your business as well. Keep in mind, this is not your opportunity to word vomit back on to them. Keep your answer conversational, brief, and interesting to the person you’re talking with (remember, you’re not talking “at” them, you’re talking “with” them).
It’s up to you to take responsibility for your own experience. You’ve spent your hard earned money and given time to be there, you should make the most of it. And, of course, if the person is not interested in hearing about you, gracefully exist the conversation and find someone else to connect with.
As business owners, we sometimes forget, not everyone’s a potential client and we don’t have to make friends with everyone. Be strategic and know when it’s time to either take a turn to share about your business or move on.
It’s important to remember networking is about making authentic connections, building strong relationships, and finding the right people who either have a product/service you need as well as finding potential clients.
Wishing you continued success this week in all areas of your business.