It’s 8am on Monday morning and you have recently started a new job or your own business. You have a list of people to call but you are dreading picking up the phone because to you sharing small talk is like having your teeth pulled at the dentist.
The social media pages and smartphone groups are going wild with messages of motivation, fitness challenges, images of people meeting at social events and smiling and all the networking events and zoom webinars for you to join.
But you have a career ladder to climb or a business to run and money doesn’t generally arrive in your bank account unless you communicate with real people!
Do you find it difficult to build business relationships? Are you dreading picking up the phone and dialling your client/prospect to follow up on a proposal?
Then this article is for you. Read on ……..
What is an introvert?
An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion, which means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds. Some other characteristics:
- Need quiet to concentrate
- Are reflective
- Are self-aware
- Take time making decisions
- Feel comfortable being alone
- Don’t like group work
- Prefer to write rather than talk
What happens if you don’t talk to people?
In the song, Talk, by Coldplay the lyrics start with these words:
“Oh brother, I can’t, I can’t get through
I’ve been trying hard to reach you ’cause I don’t know what to do
Oh brother, I can’t believe it’s true
I’m so scared about the future, and I wanna talk to you
Oh, I wanna talk to you”
We want to talk to our clients, prospects, suppliers and employees but as introverts we are often scared to make the first move and how this will impact our business in the future.
Of course, you can communicate with (hide behind) email, sms and social media messages but you run the risk of miscommunication and worse being ignored.
What if I could show you how to build business relationships with relative ease?
5 Easy Steps to creating strong business relationships
Step 1: Plan who you are going to call each day and write it down
Step 2: Keep the list as short as possible
Step 3: Do some research on the person beforehand
Step 4: Create a few questions or topics you want to discuss
Step 5: Make a few notes and then follow up re email
Let’s break it down
Steps 1 and 2 are designed to ensure you are not overwhelmed with too many social interactions in one day. Leave time for thinking, reflection and writing.
Doing research beforehand allows you to break the ice, develop trust, keep the conversation away from too many personal issues and ensure you understand why you need to speak to this person. Is it to follow up on a lead, to address a service delivery problem or to negotiate with a supplier? Whatever the reason, preparation creates certainty and confidence that you will be ready for this conversation.
The kind of research will depend on the call but reading through emails, previous file notes, checking out their website or LinkedIN profile for details or recent activity will provide the context for your discussion.
With Step 4 you are creating a mini agenda for the meeting and it is best if you share that with the person right up front. Here is an example with ideas on what to say in italics:
- Brief checkin – How are you? I see you recently won an award/had a holiday/started a new venture/bought out another company (from your research)
- Review actions from the previous meeting (if applicable) i.e. we agreed on this action last time. Is it complete? Were there any concerns?
- Opportunity or problem statement i.e I received your email saying you are not satisfied with our service or I see you were interested in our product or I would like to talk about a strategic partnership with you
- Possible ideas/solutions i.e. I would like to discuss some ideas/options/share some product details. Is that ok?
- Agreed actions and timeframe
- Close-out – Are you happy with what we have discussed/Can I send you a quote/Shall we meet again next week?
Should you follow up?
Obviously with clients, employees and suppliers the answer is yes but if it’s networking related and you reached out to meet somebody for the first time and you did not feel a connection or that there is no future in the relationship then don’t feel bad if you don’t follow up. As introverts we only have space for a few people so make sure they are worth your time and attention.
Building deeper, more meaningful relationships with a few people is the way Introverts prefer things. Resist the urge to get caught up in the challenges, groups, meetings and social activities beyond what you find comfortable.
“So you take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that’s never been done”
My interpretation of Coldplay’s lyric is that you can build relationships as an introvert but do it your way and climb that ladder into your dream future.
For a conversation on this topic you are welcome to #JustAskLinda
Enjoy puzzles? I do!
We grow the most when we face challenges. Through questions and exercises, I provide insights to puzzle out solutions to your business challenges. In my work, I am mentor, coach, adviser and cheerleader for my business clients.
GLEE is my own personal philosophy for business and life.
Grow, Learn, Empower, Enjoy.
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