Be yourself and let people buy from you

We often forget that the people we meet at networking events are people first and business people second. As a result, those who present themselves as such, and who colourfully forge emotional networks, are the ones who will stand out from, and contrast with, the hordes of people taking themselves way too seriously and trying their damnedest to impress and sell.

I was reminded of this when I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Lights Networking event at UCLAN on 10th December and meeting their excellent hosts Neil Simpson and Lateef Badat. The format was different from normal, being a Pecha Kucha evening. For the uninitiated, this is the art of the concise presentation, featuring 20 slides of 20 seconds each.

The six volunteers gave presentations covering themselves, their likes and inspirations. The evening was both well attended and a great success with many a look of laughter and surprise.

The presenters did not try to sell a single thing but their presentations built empathy with me to such an extent that, when I need their product/service, I will call them. In a couple of instances it revealed connections that would never have been uncovered in a normal networking event. The courage shown by a couple of the presenters in “putting issues out there” was palpable and impressive, and commented upon by many.

Two of the three fundamentals in making a buying decision, trust and emotion were ticked off without a single pitch or sales presentation. The logic part of the decision will follow but we all know that, in most cases, the brain makes the logic fit the endearing emotional decision.

This is another example of the old adage that “people buy from people” and that you have to put something out there for people to empathise with you. That is my lesson from the evening, let people see you for who you are without a pitch. Some people will like it and some won’t, the key is that those that do will be around for a lot longer! As the referral queen, Carmen Parkinson, always says, nobody likes being sold to, but most people like to buy something.