A couple of months ago, on a previous post here, I mentioned the importance of getting personal. The impact of letting your “corporate guard” down and open up even when you sell. One of you dear readers contacted me and requested my advice on how to do that. How to get personal in a work, selling situation? How to open up? How do you know when?
Yes! That’s right! Just be you I told him. Oh…and just like in the bar, when you start talking with the guy sitting next to you, you don’t jump immediately into work stuff. It worked! We spent the first few minutes of the (pretend) meeting chit chatting about sports, about the latest divorce of Jeff Bezos and completely laughed out loud….twice! And then, when all guards were down, when both sides were relaxed, calm and ready to be fully honest and vulnerable, only then we can start talking business.
He shared the emotions he has gone through during this exercise and thanked me. He said I made his day.
I had a meeting last week in Maryland. Not too far from Baltimore where I stayed the night before. Nice lady. We spoke on the phone once or twice before this meeting. Exchanged a couple of emails. Wasn’t sure what to expect even though I did my homework. It was clear she is in need of addressing a pressing matter at work. I realized quickly I had a good opportunity, with what it is I am selling, that I can very much help her with this pressing matter. She collected me by the front desk, and we walked into a small meeting room. Almost immediately as we sat down, she started lashing at me with her needs. In a good way.
As soon as she caught a breath I politely and calmly said – hey, hang on a second. Tell me about YOU first. Where are you from? How did you get here?
She leaned back, smiled and replied. We then drifted to speak about kids and family. After a few more minutes of getting to know each other she dared and shared some personal loss just a few years back. That hit hard with me. I gasped for a second, held the tears back (she noticed of course – was hard not to) and shared with her my own personal loss. My dad.
We had a moment. A mental hug. A connection. We both felt it and only then we continued to speak about work. I laid the options. She was thrilled. We agreed on follow ups. Since she felt so free to open to me, she slipped that it was her birthday the next day (so may take her a couple of days to get back to me). We parted ways with a hug. A real hug. WOW!
People are going to judge you anyway. So forget everyone and be YOURSELF!
As I was going back to my car, I stopped to ponder what just happened. Even for me, this was special. Sitting in my car, reflecting for a moment while hugging the emotional wave that spread through my body, I turned my GPS on, destination Baltimore and then it hit me. The donor of the bone marrow for my dad’s attempt to beat cancer was from Baltimore! I looked at the date and realized it was 10 years ago that he passed. 10 years….TO THE DAY!
I felt I had to do something so I turned back to her office. Took the details from the nice front desk lady and made sure my new friend gets beautiful flowers the next day for her birthday.
The note said:” You made my day yesterday, today is my turn to make yours.”