I happen to come across this article online the other day written by Connie Regan Green, and I have been thinking about it ever since. “Why do I talk to strangers?”
My kids will often tease me about how I will talk to anybody everybody! I truly find joy and talking to people. Total strangers! Somebody standing in front of me at the supermarket or in the restaurant line, kids who are waiting for their parents to pay for something, waitresses in the restaurant, salespeople, shoppers at the mall! Just about anyone I can strike up a conversation with. I watch for visual cues like body language and eye contact to see if I think they would be open to a conversation and then I play a little game with myself to see how long I can keep a mutually interesting fun conversation going with someone. I try to end the conversation at just the right moment so that the person walks away feeling like it was a mutually beneficial and interesting conversation to have happened. I hope they walk away feeling like in some small way I made their day just acknowledging them by wanting to interact with them.
What do I talk about? Them! I always pay them a compliment or find something to empathize with them about or seek their advice or suggestion. Then I go from there. Whatever they talk about I ask more questions about. My goal I guess is to simply learn about them. People are fascinating!
There was one time that we went into a restaurant as a large family group and I remember thinking that the waitresses seemed kind of grumpy and calculating that unless I got her turned around and happy to serve this big group – we would likely not get great service. I had just come off a long day at a sales event and was in “the zone” to be chatty myself. I can’t recall the exact conversation, but I remember I started by asking for her advice on her favorite menu items. Noticing she had a mid-west kind of accent, I asked where she was from? What brought her out this way? She wound up telling us all about her brother and her parents and being orphaned as a child, and how hard that had been. She told us all about being a single mom to two little boys. We talked for so long I thought she must have been starving for adult conversation. It was so interesting, the whole family got into getting to know her like we had invited her to our family gathering! By the time, we left the restaurant I had her set up on a date with my brother, we were friends on Facebook, I wound up spending all the next day texting her! To this day, we keep in touch yet I’ve never met her again!
I run a pretty successful Thirty-one business. I don’t have a problem talking about my product or the opportunity to work with Thirty-one. Sometimes people marvel at how I can just share it so easily and not worry about being too much of a “salesman”. The more I reflect on what Connie speaks of in the article, I think she’s absolutely hit the nail on the head! Being able to talk to total strangers absolutely helps me in my sales business! And making it all about them and the benefits for them is the key to good salesmanship. That is what makes the sales process sincere and authentic and so easy to do.
I genuinely enjoy speaking, whether is it is one on one, or in a small gathering, or a large public group. I think the more often we open our mouth easier it gets! Speaking to strangers has really helped me with my ability to sell comfortably and easily. I guess that’s what it means to have the gift of the gab! I am encouraged to keep talking to strangers! Thanks Connie for the opportunity to reflect on how these skills interlock!
How do you feel about talking to strangers? How does developing the gift of the gab benefit you?