This morning I attended the Lichfield Breakfast Meeting organised by Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SSCCI). The meeting takes place at Darnford Moors Golf Club on the edge of Lichfield which looked beautiful on this cold, crisp morning.

There were 8 “no shows” at the meeting, which led to the conclusion that they’d looked out of the window and slinked back under the duvet! The question was then asked “If you’d been interested in doing business with one of those people, what would you think now they hadn’t shown up?” It’s amazing how little information we need to make a judgement about someone!

The meeting gave me a chance to  see how other businesses are managing in these hard times. The general feeling was that customers are generally being more cautious about spending money but the more flexible your business the better your chances of surviving the bad times. There were no representatives from banks there this morning, recently they have taken alot of stick at networking meetings.

We then had a short presentation from Steve Richardson of Business Dialogue on a new approach to sales and selling. Steve’s first problem was one that all trainers and presenters come across when they are having a bad day – he’d brought his laptop but no one had brought a projector! Steve then had go to Plan B which was using a flipchart and pen. This in fact made the situation more interactive and was very enjoyable.

The main point Steve made was that in order to create a win/win for seller and customer you need to develop a rapport and build up trust. You need to listen and learn to develop an understanding of their values and if you can do that the selling becomes a secondary issue. I’ve certainly know that I don’t take kindly to someone giving me the hard sell at a networking meeting and I try and avoid them at future meetings! My natural inclination is to get to know someone by chatting, asking questions and listening to them. Also of course by not taking myself too seriously and being human! 

Ann 

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