As a business owner you probably believe you learned how to introduce yourself years ago. All business owners sell, and if you have made it this far, you must know what you are doing, right? Let’s check.
Here are the 9 steps to effectively introducing yourself:
- Eye contact – This is the first and most overlooked part of the process. Before you shake hands, exchange cards, or talk, you must make eye contact. We have all met salesmen that are still scanning the room when they introduce themselves, and we have all been insulted by it.
- A proper handshake – Much has been written about a proper handshake, but here are the basic requirements: firm, dry, thumb press, eye contact, and be happy (smile!).
- Ask a question – You do not want to talk about you or your business first. Let the contact talk. Ask about anything, other than the weather. Ask about hobbies, places they have been or lived, their family, past places of business, or their current company.
- Stop talking – Out of all the steps, this is the most commonly messed-up. The best way to keep another person engaged in a conversation is to simply let them talk. DO NOT prepare your next question, just let them talk. If they stop talking for 2 seconds, or ask you a question, then you can speak. Otherwise, listen to what they are saying, and you will gain tremendous insight into who they are and what is important to them.
- Thank you – Thank them for their time.
- Offer your contact information – Offer your card to them. Do not force it on them.
- Request their card – Ask if you can contact them in the future, and if they agree, then request their contact information.
- More thanks – Thank them again for their time, and promise to contact them again within a certain time period. (Be sure you follow-up on this commitment.)
- Three plus – Follow-up the introduction by sending a quick “good to meet you” email, and include your v-card or other form of electronic card. This means you will have given your name three times in the same day (during the handshake, the business card, and the email.) This should cement your name in their mind, and by including your v-card, you make it easy for them to add you to their address book.