6 ways to connect with success, through others

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An accomplished [salesperson, manager, coach, teammate, spouse] will frequently find themselves treating customers, channel partners, other employees—pretty much everybody—the same. How many times have I said: human beings act according to human nature.

So, building brand, making sales—whatever you're doing with others, you're making personal connections. If you're not making connections, you're probably holding back, and that's going to work against you. Sometimes that's okay—maybe even for the best. But when your role is to actively reach out and connect, remember how human these guidelines are:

  1. Understand who the other person is. What's in their head? Where do they hurt, and what are they afraid of? What do they expect of you, and how can you exceed their expectations? This isn't as hard as it might seem. Most of the time, it will be similar to you, or people you're familiar with.
  2. Work with the big picture in mind. Life doesn't just happen in a 20-foot radius around you. Think about the other person's context. Their reality is important. They may only be buying a tire, or working on a short -term assignment with you, but like you, they have a bigger picture. Act as if you are in that bigger picture, and they'll notice. It will bring you better connections.
  3. Think in terms of critical conversations. You get this from understanding the other person (see above) and addressing the things that are most important to them. If you don't already know that person—like a customer that's new to you—you have to get good at asking probing questions. Even if you've asked them a hundred times before, don't ask them off your script. Ask with genuine interest (see below) and let the answers surprise you. Never be presumptuous and get to the end before the other person.
  4. Speak and act without an agenda. That's working from your heart—it sometimes knows how to get somewhere, better and faster, than your brain. Your heart is genuine, and people can feel that. They tend to trust it. This fits: doing the right thing, is always the right thing to do. Especially over the long-term, this will make people want to connect with you. And for the short-term, working with this kind of attitude will absolutely make the right  connections.
  5. Present your message to the gut. That always sounds funny, but people have barriers and filters in their brain that you can't always get through. No connection. But when you speak to things they know are true in their gut, you avoid their filters. One of the most powerful ways to connect through the gut, sociologists call reciprocity. Look it up sometime. It's really ..it’s powerful. In the meantime, make sure the other person understands that they are y’re getting a fair trade for whatever they invest. For instance, why is a more expensive tire a better value? So, see, you have to probe to understand what the other person values.
  6. Know your subject forwards and backwards. That's not just a catchy line, it's important. Forward is all the facts. The features and benefits. Backwards is understanding how the other person thinks and feels about the facts. In selling a product or service, you have to be able to shift gears with the terrain. Go with the speed that the other person sets. It's their journey—you're just along for the ride.

Selling is just one kind of connection. Remember that all of these guidelines work for whatever kind of human connections you want to make. When you act genuinely human, you're building trust in your personal brand. This gives people the confidence to buy-in to what you're saying. The rest logically follows right behind.


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Jack Pierce, Managing Partner
Jack has deep expertise in learning design, and in making strong, positive connections with other people and teams.