Recently I was at a business networking event and as I usually do, I was going about my business and working my plan of what I wanted to accomplish while there. For me, my goal was to connect with at least 10 prospects for my coaching program. And then it happened… again.
We make eye contact and I walk over to introduce myself. Hi I’m Dean Mercado… blah, blah, blah.
She goes ahead and tells me her name… and for our purposes here I’ll just call her Sarah. A bit a small talk ensues. And then we get to the often asked and much dreaded question, “So Sarah, what do you do?”
Sarah’s face begins to turn red as I can see the nervousness start to come on. Then she broke out into this whole what seemed like a dissertation that spoke of everything except answer my question… Sarah, what do you do?
As she trudged on and on about what she does… the hole she was digging kept getting deeper and deeper… it was clear that she wasn’t sure what she did or wanted to do as her business. And in her uncertainty, made it very difficult for me to understand what she did. So instead of cutting and running, which is probably what most people would have done, I decided to play along and began asking some probing and clarifying questions.
As her long-winded answers finally started to take form, not only was Sarah involved in businesses in two totally unrelated fields, but she couldn’t clearly communicate to me what she did in either of them, or why I should care.
So being a marketing coach, like a reflex, my “coaching hat” turned on and I gently asked if she was open to some coaching… she eagerly said yes… and we spent the next several minutes helping her get clear on what she did as a business and why someone should care.
The good news is that feedback from Sarah at the end of the networking event was very positive as she felt she made some solid connections that could pan out for her — she was genuinely grateful.
The bad news here though, is as an avid networker, regardless of the networking event, I run into people like Sarah all the time. I recognize it so clearly because I used to be just like her — completely confused about what I did or who I did it for. All the while trying to get several business opportunities off the ground at the same time — none of which I might add did very well. It wasn’t until I chose one to run with and got real clear on what I did and who I did it for that it began to take off.