Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Network Marketing: The Power of a Smile and Handshake

Sadly, very few networkers, even "veteran" ones, understand the value and power of a smile and handshake, and I'm talking of the genuine kind. It shows what kind of a person, professional, and a networker you are, and what kind of company you represent.  The power of a smile and handshake can pull down walls of defenses, cynicism, and bias. and open wide minds for something new.

In fact, a warm and sincere smile and handshake are also powerful in any undertakings. I've "disarmed" quite a few difficult clients with them, and I enjoyed watching them melt in the show of goodwill. The power of a smile and handshake is vital in these ways:

  1. It relaxes clients. It makes them feel they're in good company, or makes them feel at ease even when meeting a stranger for the first time. It makes you look trustworthy with the first impression.
  2. It's a quick but powerful opening that communicates, "Hi! I'm here to help!"
  3. It breaks the ice.
  4. In one simple gesture, it tells people that you and your company are of high caliber.
  5. It shows you are reliable and trustworthy.
  6. You are approachable.
  7. You're a friend.
The last one is what everyone wants and likes, and may keep people wanting to come back for more. Remember that sincere warmth is the most demanded and a rare "product" everyone needs. And business people and companies are often out of supply of it. The power of a smile and handshake can remedy any tight and awkward situation and turn it into something redeemable. I should know--I've discovered this many times in real life. I've even disarmed a gun wielding boss (mad at someone else) with my warm friendliness. It was all God's grace.

The bible is powerful when it observes that "A cheerful heart is good remedy for anything, but a crushed spirit dries up everything," [Proverbs 17.22]. Most companies have a "crushed spirit" image. And I'm not just talking about being bankrupt and all that. I'm talking about being cold and negligent of people. They won't even put a "Welcome! Please come in!" sign on their door.

What clients look for in a company is this--the moment they enter the door, someone from the company approaches them with a sincere and broad friendly smile extending his or her hand to them in welcome. Or even a friendly smile would suffice. This is basic PR work and marketing strategy. If a company fails at this, it's a failure, no matter how big its profits may be--for now. Pretty soon, its coldness would lose a lot of good clients.

If a networker is just after sales or recruiting potential people, he is bound to neglect human relations. I've seen arrogant networkers look down on people they cannot use to grow their businesses. If a guy has no use for them, they seldom treat them well. The best that poor networkers can get is a meaningless smile--or a smirk. Most high-handed networkers do not understand the importance of being nice and kind to all people. Someday they'd stumble on their own pride and fall on their faces not knowing what happened. These networkers earn lots of money (or aim too much to), so that money has eaten into their ego. God says the love of money is a root of all evil.

Thus, if you want to be a good networker, your first lesson should be to genuinely love people. The very essence of "networking" is working with people--not using people. People users give network marketing a bad name so that many people see it as a bad business. Love people by being interested in their well being (as you also watch out for those who would abuse your love for people). If you love people, it shows how you love yourself in a healthy way, and people would love networking with you, or doing business with you.

And this isn't just for networkers or sales agents. Everyone in the company--from janitors and messengers to clerks to the staff, to officers, to the VPs, and to the big bosses--everyone should realize and apply the power of a smile and handshake. Company people all rely on the success of the company, and they all should be part of it. They should all make sure that every visitor to the company--other company's messengers, postmen, bill collectors, inquirers, guests, especial guests, and investors--should get fair treatment.

And everything starts with a simple but powerful initial approach--the power of a smile and handshake. It should be a priority personal character and marketing strategy in business.

So, smile! Extend the hand. The facial and arm exercise is crucial for your company's health and fitness.

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