Danny Beyer is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kabel Business Services
I recently had the opportunity to speak at a payroll convention in Phoenix, AZ on the power of selling through networking.
It was my first speaking engagement outside of the state of Iowa and the first time I’ve felt nervous giving a presentation like this in a long time.
Different thoughts ran through my mind as I boarded the plane Wednesday morning. They were the same self-deprecating thoughts that made me question myself during my first networking event.
“Would people enjoy the presentation?”
“Was I really qualified to do this?”
“What should my opening story be?”
Then I took my seat next to Stacy.
Stacy and I started to chat about midway through the flight.
We had each finished our book, taken a nap, and had nothing else to distract our minds as we drifted above the clouds.
She asked me where I was headed. We talked about growing up in small towns east of Des Moines. We shared stories about our families, our hobbies, and compared experiences that only people who grew up in semi-rural Iowa can relate to.
Towards the end of the flight she asked me what I did for a living.
I smiled and shared that I sold payroll. She gave me the same look the vast majority of the population does when I explain what I do.
It’s a look of understanding that’s trying to hide the underlying confusion. I quickly offered some clarification, which helped make the situation more comfortable. Then I explained that I was actually headed to Phoenix to speak about networking and building relationships.
This was much more interesting to her, and to me.
Over the remaining thirty or so minutes we spoke about her role with a marketing and specialties business. She went into great detail about how her sales force works, what the great sales people do compared to the average ones.
We talked about the value of long-term client relationships and the power of building a brand. As the plane descended and the landing gears engaged she asked for my card. It turned out she had a sales convention coming up and was beginning the process of finding a guest speaker to talk about networking.
As of this post I’m not sure if I’ll be hired to speak at Stacy’s convention but I can share that my nerves for the Phoenix speech evaporated as I left the plane.
That’s the power of networking. Stacy and I made a real connection talking about things that mattered to each of us.
We shared useful information instead of making small talk. The next time you find yourself alone on a plane, waiting for friends at a coffee shop, or at a networking event try talking to someone new.
Talk about things that matter not just the weather. You never know what connection, or opportunity, might happen next.
- Danny Beyer is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kabel Business Services and author of The Ties that Bind: Networking with Style. He is also a professional speaker on networking.