Advice From the Experts

Published: October 10, 2005


DEFINITION: “Schmoozing” – “To converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” What does it take to close a sale? Killer product? Low price? Superior service? They help, but the real secret to success with both prospects and colleagues is simple: schmoozing. “Schmoozing is all about interacting with people in a way that creates feelings of warmth, goodwill, pleasure,” says Richard Abraham, author of Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships. “‘Just the facts, ma’am,’ doesn’t go deep enough, emotionally, especially when your product or service is a commodity. The best news is that when you create joy for a living, you don’t have to ‘sell.’ People want to do business with you because, in the process, you make them feel good about the relationship and about themselves. It happens as naturally as breathing.”

•Enter the prospect’s emotional world. What really matters to that person? Chances are, it’s not the business at hand. Understand what drives the individual.
•Practice the art of elevation. Take an ordinary contact — a dinner or an outing — and elevate it to something more memorable with a personalized gift, an additional service, or an unexpected bonus.
•Expense is not the issue. Don’t just throw money. Consider giving your time and attention to an issue of great important to the prospect. That, too, will be welcomed.
•Follow up. Make sure you follow-up, post-schmooze, with materials, information, or a thank you gift. Don’t let time go buy before the follow up contact.
•Don’t just schmooze at the top. Everybody matters. Remember bartenders, carhops, restaurant hostesses and others who carry out the little details of life.