I always thought of myself as a strong, independent, Asian male who don’t nee’ no man. But over this weekend, I’ve picked up several very valid points on why this is bad. This is a short one, so bear with me.
1. It’s okay to ask for help
I’ve always wanted to show that I can give value before I presented myself to ask for something. I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s okay to have nothing and still wanted help from someone else.
2. People like you because they like you. Nothing more.
It’s not about the money, the prestige, the power or any of that. Sometimes, people like being around you because they ACTUALLY like you as a person. Huh.
3. Focus on the long run.
Don’t hamstring yourself by focusing on short term goals. Always look at the big picture and make sure that everything you do provides for that grand goal.
4. Use your connections
Again, this goes back to my habit of trying to offer value before asking for favors. Sometimes, people are willing to give you a shot out of the dark because they have an idea of what kid of person you are based on what others in their network say. Although I haven’t testing this theory out yet, I have firmly convinced myself that asking for help doesn’t close any doors or burn any bridges. So why not?
That’s it guys, it’s short. I promised, didn’t I?
Until next time,
The entry level BD/Sales position is full of this. Prospecting is the lifeblood of any for-profit company. Without a list of leads, there is no revenue and therefore, no business.
Prospecting can be done in many different ways. Traditionally, the 3 main methods are:
1. (Cold) Calling/Emailing
2. Customer referrals
3. Live events
We are going to focus on the live events. This includes conferences, meet-us, networking sessions and other industry and related events.
It is pretty intimidating to talk to a stranger. This gets even harder when you are in a packed floor with thousands of unfamiliar faces walking around. However, you are in luck. All of these people are here for the same reason that you are here for: to network.
Typically, a conversation will start with
Hi, my name is XYZ, nice to meet you. “So what do you do?”
This opener is extremely simple and works just about 100% of the time. However, its simplicity comes with the price of mediocrity. This opener has been used over 1 billion times. While it works, you just made zero distinction of yourself. This is bad.
Next time, try this opener.
Hi, my name is XYZ, nice to meet you. “So what keeps you busy during the week?”
While having the same function as “So what do you do”, this opener gives the other person a much wider spectrum of things to talk about. Instead of just naming his/her job function, you invite the person to discuss their work.
The key to a successful talk is information. Your immediate objective is to figure out if this person is someone worth keeping a conversation with. As scummy as this sounds, you are at the convention for a reason. Time is valuable and you need to network as fast and as efficiently as possible.
Speed and efficiency is the key to a successful networking conference. Although you may not know exactly who to talk to, you can increase your chances by playing the numbers game correctly. Learn to excuse yourself politely out of a conversation when you find that it does not help you. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for a business card!
One last thing. Body language, tone, and eye contact are extremely important here. If you want to learn more about each of these techniques, don’t hesitate to check out my older posts. Utilize everything you can to create the best networking results you can!
"Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships."
What an amazing weekend in San Francisco. Big thanks for the friends that came, including Alex, Steve, Akio, Chris, Foo, Liz, Hayley and all the others.
Now, onto the content.
Building relationships takes time and effort, something we all are quite aware of. Believe me, this is the greatest investment with the highest return you can ever make. In the world of business, it is often said that it is all about who you know rather than what you know. Knowledge and skills open doors, but other people can also open these doors.
So how do we build these relationships that are so invaluable to our lives?
Here are some tips to start and maintain relationships.
1. Whenever you are introduced to a new person, make it a point to remember their name. A person’s name is the sweetest thing that person can hear.
2. When talking, smile warmly and genuinely. Pay attention to what people are talking about and ask thought out questions to show your attentiveness.
3. Always say thank you whenever someone does anything that benefits you. Only apologize when you are honestly wrong at something. If you make a habit of apologizing, it gives off the impression that you are constantly wrong.
4. Find out what the person is interested in during conversation and encourage them to talk about it. The best conversationalist knows when to listen, rather than to talk.
5. Make an effort to catch up with your friends. Have time and money set out to take your friends to lunch and catch up. Show that their friendship has value and meaning.
6. Never lie and never beat around the bush. Being direct saves both time and effort for both parties.
Remember, in the end, build relationships with people that you truly enjoy being with. Be genuinely interested in the person and they will feel it.
I live my life by 3 philosophies. They dictate everything that I do and every decision I make. My philosophies are born through my 22 years on this Earth and my constant interactions with others. If you have seen my Linkedin (http://linkd.in/1kfC9EV) you would see that my tagline is
”Listen, learn, filter, integrate, repeat ad infinitum.”
These are my philosophies.
1. Be agreeable
Dale Carnegie’s blog (http://bit.ly/QxoVeb) has a great article of tips on how to deal with difficult people. These tips are gold dust. From my experience, being the agreeable and flexible person in the conversation often gives me the advantage and leverage in the situation, especially when there are other people around. It’s never about winning the conversation; in fact, winning the conversation will often spell the end of the negotiations. Keep your goals focused and direct, but try to be as agreeable as possible when speaking. Half of the battle is having the right thing to negotiate with. The other half is all about having the other party like you.
2. Take a day to make a decision, when the said decision involves a woman.
The key here is to distinguish between actual need and lust. Men are more primal creatures than our fair counterparts. Often times, our objective are muddled because of the opposite sex. We often get our real objectives confused with present passions. This is why I always take a break when making major decision with woman in the equation. Use the time to think about the situation and see if your decision is actually based on facts and does not have outside influences.
3. Never worry about something you have no control over.
This one takes the cake. This single philosophy has changed my life completely. If you apply this philosophy to your life, it will change you. Half of your life’s stress will disappear, and you will be much happier. The energy you spent worrying about the uncontrollable will be diverted into more useful and more important things.
As seniors, there is always a sense of impending doom. We are about to go out in the world, leaving our friends and our nest into the real world. Let us go, without fear. Lets keep our friends in our hearts. Most importantly, lets continue on living our life, instead of wasting time sulking in the inevitable.
2014 will make the best of it.
This one is dedicated to my friends. You all know who you are, putting up with my borderline sociopathic world views. Much love.
We will talk about developing relationships on the next post.
If rejection was a major, I would have a Ph.D.
Laugh it off now. Haha.
From proms to proposals, I have had the extensive pleasure of being rejected in a myriad of ways. Like I said, if rejection was a major, I’d be a Ph.d.
Rejection is a good thing.
Through my experience of rejection, I have built a solid foundation on how social and business interaction works. A sizable portion is, and always will be, luck. The person you are talking with can be having a bad day. The font on the powerpoint is 4 sizes too small. The stars are not aligned. The average person would find a scapegoat and become dejected. A smarter person would analyze the interaction for further reference.
My readers will learn how to become happy with rejection and learn how to secure the “Yes’ when it matters the most.
This is an accurate representation of what life is.
Everything you learn takes time and effort. You improve by constantly learning and experimenting. Along the way you fall and struggle constantly. However, by the end of your journey, you become a master of the form.
Rejection is the byproduct of learning human interactions. We approach the opposite sex daily, and we find means to attract their interest. Failure is constant, but we do not stop trying. Cold calling and cold emailing, we are faced with constant rejections and no replies. As we fail and fail, we learn what to do and what not to do. We slowly perfect our craft, each rejection being a blessing in disguise. Eventually, we stop getting rejected, and start being accepted. Constantly.
Here are some key aspects on handling rejection
1. Always learn from it. Whether it be a failed proposal or a failed interaction, always analyze the situation and learn. Talk with you project teammates or your drinking buddy. Run through the whole event and try to figure out where it went wrong.
2. Work on what you can work on. Find some small changes you can make based on your analysis and test them out. For example, in you find that you are not smiling enough in conversation, make a mental note of it the next time you have a conversation.
3. Try again. The average do not. The exceptional learn. The elite embraces.
Remember, the most important aspect of dealing with rejection is to keep it positive. Because it is positive.
Let me know what you guys think of the writing style.
Next time, we will talk about building relationships.
This is what a lot of people are doing now.
This is perhaps the worst thing you can do for its intended purposes.
A lot of sales is a battle of the mind. You spend all your time thinking about how to use the information available to get the response you want. This is no different in emailing.
As a rule of thumb, the number one thing your first email should focus on is getting a response. Any fanciful goals like setting up a sales pitch or even completing the transaction comes after getting the first response. In order to achieve that, I have developed two types of approaches.
Let me preface this by showing
This is Hubspot’s guide on how to write a response-able email. Much of the first example is based upon the principles discussed there.
1. The gentle approach
<subject line> XYZ, a quick question for you </subject>
I noticed (company) started working on (project) for the (platform). From what I’ve noticed, (project info + project objective + other facts) With that in mind, (state something they benefit greatly from that you may be able to offer).
If you are interested, we can (email + phone + meeting followup close) My number is listed below.
This approach works well with a slower paced, more established companies. Because of the culture and pace that the company is progressing at, they would have the patience to inquire more for a potentially large gain. This approach gains the reader’s attention with knowledge of their product/company. We then try to engage a response by asking beneficial questions. Lastly, we state our intention and try to secure the response.
The main drawback for this type of email is its use with startups and companies with startup mentality. Because of the indirectness of the email, aggressive startup mentality would likely place the email into the spam folder.
Here is the second format,
2. The direct approach
<subject line> (your company)/(their company)– PotentialPartnership </subject>
I noticed that (company) recently started working on (project). The (your company) offers (most beneficial offering their company can receive from you).
Lets set up a call this week on (day) to discuss what (your company) can do for (their company).
Short. Simple. Straightforward. This is the perfect email written for a fast paced startup CEO. This email gets straight to what the sales can do for the buyer. It skips all of fluff and allows the busy buyer to get the information needed fast and response appropriately.
The ending, our call for action is more concrete. We use call because it is the most common. We also set a day right away, as this will often elicit a response of a change of date.
With larger companies, there often comes a more complex product. Because of your less inquisitive approach and the more hesitant nature of the larger company, there would often be conflicts with such a fast approach. You may know exactly what their company needs but you need to convince them of so.
Let me know how these templates and idea work out for you guys. Remember, always do your research before firing off any emails.
Quality > Quantity
Special thanks to Michael Pici of Hubspot for the great slideshare.
Next time, we will talk handling rejections (playing hard to get?)
This man here is Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) of House of Cards, a great political drama original from Netflix.
This man has mastered the art of speaking, among many other things. What stood out the most to me is not his tactical and ruthless mind, nor his abilities to manipulate. The way he speaks and the way he uses his tone of voice is something that we can all learn from.
There are 3 main parts to tone that you should worry about.
Have you wondered why breathing techniques are so commonly practiced by actors and singers? The way you breath can drastically affect the tone of your voice. Although we are unknowingly breathing through our lungs, there is a better way.
The key here is to breath through your diaphragm. This generates a deeper bass and more resonation in your voice.
This deeper tone gives off a sense of confidence, masculinity and calmness, crucial for remaining in control of the conversation and grabbing attention.
Our emotions can often affect the way we speak. Think about the last time you were angry. Did your words come out aggressive? Of course!
By adding in emotional undertones, we can change how ours perceive our words. Here’s an exercise:
Say “What are you doing”
Now say it again, but with a confused tone.
Now say it with an angry tone.
Lastly, say it with your monotone.
Depending how you spoke the phrase, the meaning that comes out completely differs. The confused tone is genuinely inquiring. The angry tone bring in an air of disbelief. Lastly, the monotone gives a sense of a passing comment.
Use your judgement and figure out what is the best emotional tone you can add to your words.
Notice how Frank slowly speaks, and moves to action upon finishing speaking. Also, he makes dynamic movements from sitting down to picking up the phone swiftly. Frank also slows down at key moments during the conversation, especially a pause when Frank ask “If not you, then who?”
There are many tidbits on how to best deliver your words. The key here is to focus on the situation and use your best judgement. If the conversation is tense, leaning back while speaking can lessen the tension. If the conversation is dull, moving around and making gestures can bring new life. Just remember that the key point with delivery is to sound as in control and confident as possible.
Let me know what you guys think about the series and how I can improve on this.
Next time, we will talk about getting that all-important first contact through emailing.
Did you know that 70% of communication comes from body language? 23% comes from tone and inflection while a measly 7% is actual words.
Body language is essentially your bodily actions and reactions during a conversation. As the largest aspect of communication, proper body language is crucial.
Last time, we talked about proper eye contact. The 3 tips I left you guys are:
1. Strong eye contact to the lip level
2. Waver very slightly, keeping the wavering between eyes and lips
3. Take a break glance every so often, but not too much
So now that you know how to look, it is time to learn how to hold yourself.
Typically, our conversations will be face to face, standing and facing one another. There are some key rules:
1. Everyone needs a personal bubble, which is approximately 3 feet long.
2. Be close enough to feel intimate, but far enough to be comfortable.
The average comfort bubble is about 3 feet long, or the width of your arms. Depending on culture and personality, this comfort bubble can be larger or smaller. The goal here is to figure out the comfort zone and stand as close to the edge of it as possible. We want to give off a sense to focus and intimacy, thereby giving off a sense of caring and attention. However, being too close will give off a sense of fear and discomfort, detracting from the conversation.
The second part is the body gesture, which includes head, shoulders and arms. the general golden rule here is to mimic the person talking.
Body language mimicry is the social glue that holds conversations together. By slightly mimicking the other person’s gestures, you provide a sense of fellowship and understanding. However, do note on how obvious and how much you are copying the other person. Excessive mimicry gives off an impression of subordination, which may hamper your efforts.
One of the most overlooked aspect of the body is the arms. Depending on how you hold your arms, you can give off a completely different feeling. Here are some general rules.
1. Take your hands out of your pockets
2. NEVER cross your arms
3. Hold your hands either by your sides or in front of your crotch, lightly locked.
4. Utilize hand gestures while talking.
One of the main reason why we hide our hands is because of our natural instinct to protect ourselves. The arteries in our wrists are major arteries and can kill if damaged. We unconsciously protect ourselves by putting our hands in our pockets or away.
Crossing your arms signifies that you are close-minded and do not want to converse.
Have you notice how Jesus holds out his hands?
He is constantly exposing his wrists to the audience. This signifies complete trust to the audience and in turn, garners trust and respect from the audience. He is exposing a major weakness to other, essentially putting himself at the mercy of others.
When speaking, utilizing your hands can help people under your points more effectively. The standard is constantly having your hands from a frame/boundary around an invisible object, as shown above. This is called “framing” and gives emphasis on important details and facts in a conversation. By “Framing” the most crucial parts of your conversation, the speak engages the listener to focus more intently, getting the important message across.
The last part I want to talk about is more minor. This is your stature and feet. The general advice here is.
1. Stand straight, but have a tiny bit of slack. If sitting and listening, leaning forward. If speaking, lean slightly backwards.
2. Point your toes at the person who is speaking.
When standing, always face the person speak and point your toes towards the speaker. The standing straight represent alertness and attention while the point toes signifies respect and awareness.
While sitting, leaning forward signifies attention and interest while listening. Leaning slightly backwards signifies comfort and general mastery of the topic. It also allows the other person to lean forward without breaking the comfort bubble.
This is the general gist of body language, especially for a one on one conversation. Of course there is always differences between each person and it is up to you to find out exact what the other party feel most comfortable.
Next time, we will talk about tone and inflection.
Eye contact signifies confidence. This is a fact that we all know. Shifting your gaze around gives the impression of nervousness, boredom and general disrespect. When you are in a meeting of any kind, all of these negatives can create a terrible impression.
But did you know that holding eye contact can also damage your all important impression as well?
In a study done by Julia Minson of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and her long time collaborator, Frances Chen, direct eye to eye contact may not be the most effective way to elicit the response you want. (http://bit.ly/NdF6eH) (http://onforb.es/1exTyc6)*
“The intuition that drove our research was that when someone disagrees with you and they look you in the eye in a prolonged, direct manner, it gives you the feeling of someone trying to dominate you,” says Minson. “Our reaction may be primal.”
The data states that constant direct eye contact shows a sign of dominance. However, in a state where two potential business partners were to discuss a venture, a display of dominance can irreparably damage the relationship and the venture. The act of negotiating and business development relies heavily on mutual accommodation.
So where do you look then? According to the article,
In two different studies (conducted at the University of Freiburg where Chen was doing her post-doctoral work), their data show that people respond more favorably to opposing arguments when the speaker looks at an angle to the recipient or focuses his eyes on his counterpart’s mouth instead of his eyes.
Gentle “eye” contact makes the receiver feel listened-to and respected, thus making you feel accommodating. We will name this technique the “Gentle Eye Contact”. However, the article also states that you should shift your eyes naturally and constantly. This is when I deviate.
As described by Dale Carnegie, one of the most primal need as a human being is the need to feel important and listened to. In a negotiation, especially if you are seeking to gain a customer, utilizing this fact is extremely powerful.
By placing yourself as accommodating, yet extremely focused individual, you become the desperately needed audience for the other person. By your gentle, yet focused gaze, you will feed your potential partner’s self importance and his need to be heard. Not only that, you will have looked confident without being dominating, which is best of both worlds.
So next time you have conversation/negotiation with someone, try these quick tips and see if anything changes:
1. Strong eye contact to the lip level
2. Waver very slightly, keeping the wavering between eyes and lips
3. Take a break glance every so often, but not too much
Hopefully these small tips can help you accomplish new things and close deals that were just on the edge of being closed.
Next time, we will build upon this concept and talk about body language during one to one conversations.
Disclaimer: INTENSE EYE CONTACT IS PREFERRED DURING NEGOTIATIONS AT THE BAR. AND BY NEGOTIATIONS I MEAN GETTING TO KNOW THAT WONDERFUL GIRL YOU MET 2 MINUTES AGO.