Talk to Everybody (Issue 1109)

In which we are reminded to reach out more… on the street and in our client and prospect accounts.

As is my Sunday morning custom, I went for a walk through two nearby neighborhoods. The sky was overcast, the streets were dry, and the air smelled like Fall.  Not many people were out when I started the walk, at around 8:30 am; more people were about as I headed home.

Also, as is my custom, as I meet people walking the other way on the sidewalk, I look at their faces.  Every time, if they look up, I smile and say “hello” or “good morning” and, almost always, they respond with smiles and replies.  And when people aren’t clearly “looking the other way” to avoid contact, I’ll nod my head and say “hello” or “good morning.”  Most of them are surprised that someone spoke and they, too, respond.

Why do I do this?  It’s a way of adding some friendliness to the morning – I’m signaling “I noticed you”.  I am particularly attentive to people who look like they could be my parents or grandparents. I want them to feel noticed, visible rather than invisible.

I’ve been watching the Netflix series, The Diplomat. In the last episode of the first season, one of the characters, Hal Wyler, formerly a senior level U.S. ambassador, gives a talk at Chatham House in London. His focus is “communication.”

He says, in part: “Diplomacy never works…. Communication isn’t the key. Diplomacy doesn’t open doors or twist the wrist…. Diplomacy never works. Until it does…. One of the boneheaded truisms of foreign policy is that talking to your enemies legitimizes them. [No!] Talk to everyone. Talk to the dictator and the war criminal. Talk to the poor schmuck three levels down who’s so [angry] he has to sit in the back of the second car that he may be ready to turn. Talk to terrorists! Talk to everyone!  Fail! And fail again. And brush yourself off and fail again because maybe… “

Reminds me of coaching shared with me about exploring and developing client or prospect relationships: “Nick, there’s nobody you shouldn’t meet.”

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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