Competing in sales competitions during school was without question a catalyst for me in pursuing my love for business. I had a few early victories that afforded me an opportunity at the next event. Then, all of a sudden it became a game. I was sucked into the never-ending vortex of competing.
I was never competitive in sports, but sales had rung the entrepreneurial bell. Discovering what worked, and what didn't, as I went from competition to competition was very intriguing to me to say the least.
I found out at a very early age, no brilliance, just blind luck, that these few things seemed to work very well:
Being positive, without being overbearing. Nobody enjoys fake.
Smile, I always received one in return.
Answer a question with a well thought out question. Fortunately, when I was younger, I thought very quickly. It conveyed to the judges that I was thinking through the process, plus it gave me time for a great response rather than a half-baked one.
I would always ask questions about the one I was talking with. People love talking about what they are interested in, let them. One of my favorite ways to initiate this was to say, "Tell me your story". Now sit back and listen, we’re off to the races. Read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, it's a classic. The best thing I can tell you about this book is, it works.
Don't blow smoke, people know. Everything is not wonderful and hunky dory all the time. Be genuine and sincere, if not you will be classified a fraud very quickly. They may not tell you this, but I promise they are thinking it.
Listen attentively. Stop waiting to talk; you will get your turn. The conversation goes much better when you ask real applicable questions rather than made up ones.
When it is your turn to talk, empathize with your friend. Try to envision yourself in their shoes. Nobody likes a direct jerk that has all the answers when they have never experienced that situation to begin with. Engage in the now, the current situation at hand.
Ask how you can help them achieve success? Ask them what does success look like to them with this project. Make a concerted effort to explore all possibilities of making their goal a reality.
If you smile, appear positive and have solutions to their problems, you won't have to ask for their business. They will happily give it to you :-).
Live on purpose,