Thursday, February 04, 2016

Are you being sold… or are you being served?

That was the question Marie Furfaro from Meridian asked of a group of women entrepreneurs.  Now she was referring to financial institutions where often the focus is on making a sale, as staff having quotas to reach.    Imagine the change in your relationship if you thought the person was there to help you, not sell you something, something you likely don’t need.

But isn’t this true of any business, not just banks?  When you have the needs of your clients first and centre,  you get so much further – in your relationship, in your “conversion rates” etc… Now it does have to be sincere.  Women, in particular, have a built-in radar – we can detect the phony.

When I think of networking, to me it is all about building relationships.  At Company of Women I don’t encourage what I call the business card shuffle where the person’s goal is to hand out and collect as many business cards as possible.  

That’s just a sham.  To me that’s transactional networking – the person is there for the sale, nothing more.  It’s all about them.

While you may buy something once, you are less likely to come back.  Why would you?  We all like to be treated as we treat others, and if you are pushy and aggressive in your approach, I suspect you will scare people away.

Whereas if you take a genuine interest in the person, what they need and are looking for, they are more likely to make a purchase and better still, refer their friends to you.

Getting back to the banking topic.  It struck me that wouldn’t it be lovely if you had a bank manager that cared.  I have been at the same bank for 15 years since I started my business.  I don’t know who the bank manager is, although in fairness, an overture was made a few years ago.  Just as well I never wanted a line of credit, I wouldn’t have known who to ask.

What impressed me most about Marie’s talk is when she said that she asks for her clients’ business cards – not just one – but a stack – so if she meets someone who would be useful to your business – she can pass it on.

Now that’s entrepreneurial.  That’s how business and networking works.  You make connections, referrals and look at ways you can help each other.

And liking her approach, that’s why I’ve asked her to run a Biz Tools session at our conference on May 17.    Other women entrepreneurs need to hear about her refreshing approach.  She makes you expect more.  More from your bank, more from your small business manager, and more for yourself


Linda Sztanko said...

I couldn't agree more! When I know someone cares about me and not the Sale... that is the person I give my business to!

Unknown said...

Excellent. Possibly one difference with the Big 5 is that their business model is based on providing the highest returns possible for their shareholders/investors and CEO compensations/bonuses. Meridian may still have the old-fashioned approach of authentic quality interactions during business transactions where they want to improve their client's situation.