Dale Canergie’s seminal business book was released in 1936 and has stood the test of time well.  It’s still widely regarded as one of the best books to help gain confidence and project the best version of yourself to a stranger or new client.  It’s entitled ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ and encourages readers to show empathy and be genuinely interested in others to succeed in life.

David Bellin of ‘The Web Studio’ and SUBS Business Events joined us this month to talk us through how he has adopted Carnegie’s core principles to build up one of Cheshire’s most influential networking groups.  The monthly SUBS meetings in Altrincham and Wilmslow brings together over 50 business people each month focusing on relevant topics for small business owners and independent workers.

Firstly, it’s important to physically engage with your prospective clients. Listen to them, smile and have open body language.  Patience really is a virtue, so attempt to learn of their needs and take on board their full perspective before you attempt to sell.  By illustrating that you care about your customers you’ll help all of your future discussions.

It’s important to remember names so write them down if you need to.  Also, avoid giving advice or being critical in an initial meeting, those first impressions do count.  The overall plan is to make the client feel important and valued at the early stages of meeting.

To adapt Carnegie’s thinking a little more David discussed how this strategy can be adopted into our connected world.  All digital communications need to be consistent with above and highly professional in tone and messaging.  The use of ‘digital etiquette’ or ‘webetiquette’ should enable you to reinforce the impression that you are an expert in your field.  This will help you influence the customer towards your offering.

Many businesses or freelancers work on having a point of difference over competitive products and services.  This ‘Unique Selling Point’ needs to be emphasised fully to help further promote you above the competition and offer a form of validation.  Whilst many of us strategise about our uniqueness at startup stage it’s important for this be a continuous process throughout marketing and sales.

The lively debate present during the forty minute talk illustrated how Carnegie’s principles underly many companies and their marketing efforts.  David mentioned the use of visual cues adopted by Steve Jobs amongst others in the digital age.  This nicely illustrated how timeless the advice is to all small business owners irrespective of their length of trading.