You’ve probably had the same thing happen. I met some new people last week who had a lot to say about themselves and their business.
Listening to them, I thought about how often this goes on at conferences and professional association meetings and for that matter, at social events.
You meet someone new, and yes, you’re interested in learning about them and about their work. But then they start spewing their life story, and you can’t wait to get away from them.
This is why I talk with my clients about feeding a chipmunk. There’s a connection, I promise.
When I was a kid, we vacationed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, way up in the national forest, midway between Munising and Escanaba. And a favorite vacation activity was feeding the adorable little chipmunks that scampered around the resort. (Admittedly, there wasn’t all that much else to do at Uno Lodge, Cabin #3)
So how do you feed a chipmunk?
You certainly don’t grab the little guy and immediately stuff a big chunk of something or other down his throat. No.
Instead, you put a tasty little morsel on the ground between the chipmunk and you. And you quietly, calmly watch and wait for him to creep up and nibble it.
So cute, right?
Then when he’s made quick work of that, you put another tasty little morsel on the ground, just a little bit closer to you. And you quietly, calmly watch and wait for him to creep up and nibble it.
And then? You guessed it. Another tasty little morsel. And you get a kick out of watching him come in closer to you and gobble it down. But you try to stay calm because you don’t want to scare him off.
And you might have to do that several more times, a little closer each time … before finally you hold out a tasty little morsel in your fingertips.
Now the chipmunk has enjoyed every tasty little morsel you’ve given him. He believes you have something else that he’ll like just as much. And he’s lost his fear of being grabbed, because you’ve been so quiet and calm, watching and waiting.
So now he comes right up to you and takes the tasty little morsel you offer. He might eat it out of your hand, or maybe he takes it in his tiny paws and nibbles away, sitting right there beside you as if you’re old friends.
If you hadn’t been so patient. If you’d reached out and grabbed him and stuffed a tasty morsel in his mouth, would he be there with you now? No. He would have bitten you. Or run away. Or both.
Think of your prospects as giant chipmunks.
You meet someone new, a potential client or maybe somebody you could partner with to grow your business and theirs.
If you grab them and stuff a big chunk of blahblah down their throat, they probably won’t bite you. But they will flee.
And once they’re gone, your chance of getting them to come back so they can hear more of what you have to say is pretty slim.
If you use your quick introduction to spew every detail of your business, what you offer, and how very great it is, you will lose your listeners in the first few words. They’re not ready yet to take all that in.
But if you put out one tasty little morsel at a time, and wait for them to come closer and gobble those morsels up … you can entice them into wanting more. Asking for more. And ultimately buying more.
So as you’re networking, striking up conversations, opening relationships…keep the chipmunks in mind.
And by all means, post a comment below to share your own experience describing your brilliance one tidbit at a time.