I just attended a networking event where hundreds of people came to see a number of booths advertising everything from cable TV to non-profit organisations. It was fascinating to see the various goods and services being promoted, and even more fascinating to see the unspoken messages being sent by the people serving those organisations.Do you want to learn more? check it out
Two extremes gave me pause for thought on what to do and, more importantly, what not to do while selling the company or service. One was a non-profit booth that I felt would be a good match for my Rotary club. The other was for a bank with which I already do business. In one situation, I was taken aback by the apparent lack of interest; in the other, I was taken aback by the fact that a young woman I had met just a few months before knew who I was and what I did for a living! The remainder of the storey can be found here.
I walked up to the non-profit booth, where the woman in charge of community relations was sitting. I introduced myself, explained that I thought her non-profit organisation would be of interest to members of my Rotary club, and inquired if she gave presentations. I instantly decided not to follow up and ask her to talk at Rotary because of her blasé response (she didn’t even stand up to greet me when I approached). She wasn’t rude outwardly, but her nonverbal communication made it clear that she didn’t care who I was or what I was interested in. For all she knew, I might have been a million-dollar donor on the verge of donating. I’m sure this non-profit would be worried if they realised she was representing them in such a way that a potential donor would be turned off. She pushed me to ask for her card and more details instead of welcoming the opportunity with excitement and asking for my card. I was perplexed as to how anyone so disengaged might have gotten the job as their community relations director!
A beautiful and enthusiastic young woman approached me from a few booths away, offering me a small gift from the bank with which I already do business. She happily told me that we had met at a bank branch (where I rarely go) and recalled that I am a life and business coach when she looked at me. I was taken aback. Even if I hadn’t done business with this bank before, my experience with them has made me want to do so now. And, because I’m already a client, the fact that I had just suggested them to a young man who said he was starting a new company and needed a bank made me feel good. To put it another way, it confirmed my conviction that I had chosen the right people with whom to do business!
I would have gladly promoted the non-profit as well, and I would most likely do so anyway. They serve a vital purpose in our culture. But this week, my goal is to challenge you to consider the messages you and those who serve you are sending out. Make sure that both the verbal and nonverbal messages are promoting engagement, support, and loyalty in the same way!