Jobseekers Audio 5.25.12

This is the talk I gave at Jobseekers PTC today. Dave O'Farrell and the Ships Crew do a fantastic job helping folks. Check them out at

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Ask The Million Dollar Question

Asking questions skillfully and listening carefully can improve your networking and sales success.  When you learn to ask The Million Dollar Question you can super-charge your results.

It’s called The Million Dollar Question because it can literally make you a millionaire.  People from all walks of life find this one question to be so different from anything they have ever learned that they just can’t stop talking about the impact it has on their careers.

The Million Dollar Question cannot be asked as a stand alone question.  It is used in the context of a conversation and only after a considerable amount of questioning skillfully and listening carefully.  As your conversation continues, ask the person you're speaking with for their card and be ready to write notes on the back as you ask questions.  Genuine interest is required to use the question wisely.

So what’s The Million Dollar Question?

“I’m in the public quite a bit, tell me (insert name), in the course of my day, how will I recognize a good prospect for you if I see one?  (Yes, WOW is an appropriate response right now!)

You see, most people are so busy thinking about themselves and how they will benefit from this relationship that they fail to recognize that it is NOT about them, it is about the person they’re in front of.  The person you are talking to will hesitate at first because this kind of question is so rarely asked.  It shows you truly are interested in them.

Often people who are asked this question appear puzzled at first since they rarely come in contact with people who are genuinely interested in helping them.  Do not despair.  As you build your skill asking questions and listening to answers you’ll become adept at discovering ideal clients and prospects for the people you meet too.

Clearly you can see the benefit of asking The Million Dollar Question but remember that you must take care to record what you’ve learned.  Be certain to record what you’ve learned about the person you just met on the business card you asked for earlier.  While you don’t want to promise that you’ll be on the lookout for referrals, you will have implied that you are.  And subconsciously your mind will go to work seeking a solution.

That’s it.  While it seems simple it is rarely done and rarer still are those who do it regularly.  If you do you will stand out from the crowd, be known as a caring connector, and people and resources will magically appear in your life.

The Elevator Speech - How to Ensure Your Message Is Heard in Any Crowd

Attend networking events and before long you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself to a crowd.  While what you say is very important, how you say it will determine if your carefully crafted message (your Magical Networking Moment) will be heard.  It's not as simple as speaking loudly enough to be heard.

Most people intuitively know that they must speak up in front of a crowd, especially in a large room without a microphone.  But even the most seasoned speaker has limited experience with different acoustical characteristics. Flooring, ceiling material, furnishings, and wall coverings play a role in how well your voice will carry in a room.

A good rule of thumb is to remember that the harder the surface, the more your voice will carry and be reflected.  You will need to speak louder in rooms with carpet, soft wall coverings, abundant plush seating, and textured ceiling tile since these materials will absorb sound.  Conversely, you will speak softer and more slowly in a school cafeteria where you will find hard floors, chairs, tables, and ceiling materials since your voice will carry and even echo is some situations.

Regardless of venue, every event has its share of soft-spoken folks who fail to be heard. Here are a few tips to ensure that you will be heard every time you introduce yourself.

1.    Get there early.  If you arrive early you can test your voice in the room.  This will ensure that you will be loud enough, but it will also ensure that you won't be too loud too.
2.    Choose your seat carefully.  Choose a seat near the front of the room or at least on the perimeter of the crowd.  You don't want to have your back to anyone.
3.    Be ready when it is your turn and stand up.  Read my previous articles on Stand, Pause, Breathe, Lean Forward, and Speak Loud Enough to be Heard.
4.    Slow down!  Most people speak too fast and therefore do not enunciate properly.  While you know exactly what you are talking about, the audience doesn't.  Give the listener time to grasp what you are saying.
5.    Remember that less is more.  Give the audience only one or two points to remember. Chances are they will not remember much.

It is important to remember your goal.  You want others to come up to you and ask for more information.  You cannot and should not try to be all things to all people.  If you carefully craft your message and deliver it with the proper volume and pace, you will find that you will attract all the right people.  Following the tips above will ensure that the right people will hear you in every crowd.

Unclip Your Electronic Leash - Really Be Where You Are and Your Sales and Relationships Will Blossom

Do you want to see your sales soar, your relationships blossom, and your stress level decrease?  Unclip your electronic leash.  That's right, turn off your mobile phone or better yet, leave it in the car when you arrive at a business meeting, networking event, or dinner with a loved one.  Before you immediately dismiss the idea, consider the following.

As hard as it may be to believe, back in the last century there was a time when no one had a mobile phone.  No one had access to the current Tweets from their friends, texts from their co-workers or weather updates from the web.  And people got along just fine.

Opportunity and outstanding situation marketing has driven us to believe that we should not (or cannot) function without our mobile device.  We have been conditioned to believe that we are less effective, less connected, and less important without a mobile phone.  And while recent studies indicate that people feel more stressed if they are without their mobile phone, these same studies indicate that the use of electronic communication is a tool to help people find "real world friends" (Keeping it real... 'Offline' communications still key to connecting with 'Digital Generation' DSSResources) .  In essence, people use mobile phones to enhance, not create relationships that matter.

And in a relationship that matters, what behaviors do you exhibit?  When you are with a premier client, do you answer your mobile phone or text to others?  When sharing an intimate dinner with your mate, do you text to others or receive calls from friends?  If you do, stop it now.

Aren't there times when you intuitively know that you should silence your phone or leave it behind?  Would you answer your phone in a theatre?  At the symphony?  In the library?  Society is changing its tolerance of mobile phones and the abusers who use them.  The signs are everywhere.  In banks, at retail check out counters, and at virtually every governmental agency, mobile phone use is no longer permitted.

The reasons are many, but the simplest explanation is that we no longer wish to be told we are less important than the person who isn't even here.  When you answer a mobile phone call or text a friend in the presence of others, you are telling them that they are not as important as the people you want to connect with who aren't with you right now.

The biggest problem we have with mobile phones is they have become habitual.  Just like yawning, when others look at their phones or are texting, we feel compelled to look or text too.   Mobile phones are arguably the cigarettes of the new society.  We unknowingly light them up by checking for texts, messages, and missed calls.  For many, making a call the moment they get in the car has become a habit, just like lighting a cigarette was in the past.

Clearly there are times and circumstances where keeping your phone accessible is required.  You wife is expecting a child, you are expecting an important call, or you work in a field where you are on call.  The examples of acceptable reasons to keep your phone handy are as ubiquitous as phones themselves.  But stop for a moment and ask,  "Do I really need my phone right now?"

Try this test.  Look back through your call and text log over the past day.  How many calls and texts did you make and receive?  How many of those calls and texts were crucial?  How many were time sensitive?  How many really mattered at that moment?  You'll find that most of the interactions on your mobile device are brain candy.  They keep you occupied.  And occupied while with a significant client or loved one is distracted.  You lose.

When you begin to focus on the people in front of you as much as you do your mobile device, you will begin to change the nature of your relationships.  Better relationships are the source of more sales and less stress.  Lose the leash.

Storytime at the Networking Event - Success Stories Give The Audience a Chance Play a Role

We've all been there.  We are at a networking event and it's time for the elevator speeches.  And one by one they drone one in a rhythmic fashion.  "I'm Bob with Bobs Inc."  "I'm Mary with Mary's Cleaning."  "I'm Steve with Steve's Warehouse."  Each introduction more mundane than the last.  YAWN!

But then something unusual happens.  We find that we're listening to someone more intently.  And before we know it, we're hooked.  We forget about the time and our wonderful buffet lunch, and find ourselves deep inside another world.  In this new world we are experiencing new and exciting things.  What is the difference?  A story.

When delivering your elevator speech (Magical Networking Moment), using stories will capture the imagination and move the audience to take action much faster than the facts.  So present the facts in a success story.  A success story is any recount of an experience a customer has had with you, your product, your service, or your business.  Success stories are extremely powerful.

Most people are thinking about themselves most of the time.  This is the challenge every marketer has when conveying information about their products and services.  How do we break the preoccupation of the audience? People will naturally listen longer and more intently to a story than to a pitch.  What's more, people are naturally curious and want to know how a story ends.

And when a story applies to them, people have the ability to project themselves into the story and really see the success happening for them too.  When they do, you have the rare opportunity to use their self-focus to your benefit. When people are able to think about themselves while using your product or service it translates into more business for you.

Be certain that your story is true as honesty is always the best policy and your integrity and credibility are keys to networking success.  And resist the temptation to embellish for effect.  Those who relate to the story won't need a larger than life experience to be drawn in.  That isn't to say that you shouldn't bring life to the story.  Include sensory words like saw, felt, tasted, and heard to bring the story to life.

And for those who are new to the company, use a story from a seasoned veteran.  Again, confirm the truth of the story but once confirmed, share the success story with audiences until you have your own.  Tell a success story every chance you get.  You may use different stories or the same one over and over again.  Remember there are always new ears listening.

One bit of caution when using stories.  Just as the audience will be drawn in and will loose track of time, so will you if you haven't practiced.  Don't attempt to tell a story off the cuff.  Practice your story in front of a mirror until you have the right facial expressions and you have a handle on the time it takes to share.  Telling the story masterfully is a skill that must be developed and practiced.

Storytelling has been with us since our first words.  Cave dwellers and ancients from all parts of the globe used pictures to tell stories.  Today we continue to share our most powerful lessons through stories.  You can use stories to tell in a more interesting way the story of your product or service and more people will be interested.  Use the success story to win more business and build better relationships. Tell the story.