Make No Assumptions

Many people make the fatal mistake of assuming that others know a lot about their business. I heard a florist tell a networking group, “I’m not sure what else to say.  You all know what a florist does, right?”  Wrong!  We didn’t know the variety of products this florist provided.  He knew his business and assumed that everyone else knew it as well.  Later, I asked him whether his shop was an FTD florist and . . .

  • Did he accept credit cards?
  • Did he offer seasonal specials for holidays?  If so, which ones?
  • Did he handle emergency orders?
  • Could he do a good job for weddings?
  • Did he give a discount to members of his networking group?
  • Could I set up a billing arrangement with his company?
  • Could I order online?
  • Do certain colors of roses signify certain things?
  • What type of floral arrangement would be appropriate for a graduation?
  • Could he give me any tips on keeping flowers alive longer?
  • What was his most challenging order?

I told him there were hundreds of things I didn’t know about his business, and others surely felt the same way.  Not using his time with the networking group to tell everyone something about his service was an opportunity lost.

Everyone has something he can say that will educate people about the services he has to offer.  Don’t pass up a chance to teach people more about what you do!

Try making a list of questions, such as the ones above, that people might ask you about your business and then try focusing on answering one question each time you attend a networking meeting — you’d be surprised at the things people really have no idea that you do!

7 thoughts on “Make No Assumptions

  1. Great post Ivan,
    I made the same mistake, the first time I attended a networking event.
    Never again.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Rajiv Lulla

  2. As always, thanks for the great suggestions, Ivan! I’m thinking of asking some people – who I know have no idea about my business — what questions they would have for me. I’d also be curious to find out what assumptions people have about me right when I say what I do and then, address those in an intro as well.
    Warmest regards,
    Josephine Hanan

  3. If I introduce myself as a coach, many people’s eyes glaze over. Instead of the florist example here, I have to work doubly hard to prove my value and worth to my client. For me, this education process is all about demonstrating why I am different and how my services helps people.

    Thanks for the thought provoking blog.

  4. After 9 years in BNI and 33 years in the travel business, I made a significant change in the 30-seconds we get at our meetings. In the last 60 days, I have been able to turn in TYFCB worth $36,000!! And the travel business has been hurt as much as real estate. But business is out there, we just need to be even more laser-sharp than ever. We need to educate our sales force, not sell to them(back to basics and fundamentals).

  5. As an Area Director, In several of our Chapters we are now passing around a “Questions for The Speaker” List when the following weeks speaker is announced.

    The list is then given to the upcoming speaker a week ahead of time so that they may address the questions during their presentation. It is working very well.

    As Always Thank You for your Insight.

  6. I couldn’t agree more about being more specific about the products and services your company offers. It is critical in your 1 to 1 meetings also to make sure the person you are meeting with understands the depth and width of your business and what you bring to the table. Customer service is most important but product knowledge is next in line. We strive at our meetings to make sure we know about each others business and especially the depth of what they offer.

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