Networking like a dog
Charlie is my 12-week old puppy (she’s a girl for those of you who assumed otherwise).
As a first-time dog mom, I have taken note of Charlie’s habits, and in particular, her friendliness and ability to speak with, connect to, and doggie-network with anyone and EVERYONE she crosses paths with.
No handshakes – just tail-wagging and eye-to-eye connection.
When we go on a walk, and Charlie sees someone else on the street, she immediately runs over to them, sits down right in front of them, (wagging her tail excitedly) and looks up to say, “hi.”
The other day, we were walking towards the elevator and we encountered a group of four people. Charlie ran over, per usual, and then greeted EACH person individually. The people were just as eager to say hi to Charlie as they were to be greeted by her.
After she’s made someone feel good, she’s ready for them to reward her: Charlie has a belly rub addiction. She lays down with her tummy side up, and most people rub her belly.
The foursome and I had a 5‑minute or so conversation.
PERSONAL REALIZATION: After 2.5 years of being in my condo building and seeing these people numerous times, this was my first real conversation that extended beyond “hi” and “have a nice day.” I guess I could thank Charlie for being a great ice-breaker, but what stopped me in the first place?
Here are some lessons you can learn from Charlie, that will have you networking like a dog and earning the rewards you deserve.
- Do what your mom told you not to do: Talk to strangers. Charlie is eager to chat with everyone. She sees every walk as a networking opportunity. Do you look for networking opportunities or are your eyes glued to your phone?
- Connect on an emotional level. Most people who meet Charlie, start off by saying, “Awww!” She knows how to get to their hearts by giving them puppy kisses and making them feel good. How well do you get to your customer’s heart? Their emotions?
- Create emotional dialogue. When people finally look up at me, Charlie’s owner, they wanna tell me about their dog, or how they want a dog, or about when they had a dog.
- Make them laugh or at least have prolonged smiles. Charlie makes people smile. The smile leads to relaxed and open conversation. People – complete strangers – even people in New York City, where no one talks to no one, will talk about dogs and life.
- Be aware of and adapt to cultural differences. In Charlotte, NC, everyone stops to say hi to Charlie. In New York City, most don’t stop, but the ones who do, welcome the opportunity to have a (brief) conversation.
- Focus on the person in front of you — Could you imagine a dog running up to you to play and then getting on their cell phone? NO! Dogs have no technology and nothing getting in the way of their interaction. Make your customer meetings are the same. Wag your tail and look people in the eye – put your phone next to your wallet.
- Don’t care about what you look like, let your personality take over. Look at Charlie! She's naked.
- Be a connector. In your building, in your neighborhood, and on your street. Even in a formal networking group. Charlie creates immediate friendliness, openness, and she's approachable — but she gives the signal by wagging her tail first.
- Don’t let the weather or outside factors control your attitude. Charlie doesn't care if it's raining outside or if it's 90 degrees and sunny. She is always ready to be happy. How does the weather impact you? What changes could you make so that you’re wagging your tail next time it rains?
- No reward expected. Charlie is just genuinely excited to connect and in return she gets rewarded in many ways over and over again. Being friendly does have its rewards. Many people give belly rubs, and for you, the equivalent may be a life-long relationship, that leads to more business, true friendship, more referrals and more money. And keep in mind, Charlie makes the connection and the sale without saying one word.
Jennifer Gluckow blogs regularly at Sales In A New York Minute.
©2017 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute.