Connecting with Clients is About More than Business | By: Dana Knight

Published: September 2, 2005


Mr. Shmooze found his way to my desk the other day.

He was eye-catching and colorful. Not pushy, but full of advice. Mr. Shmooze had charisma, a subtle message that caught my attention.

He, as most schmoozers do, sold me. And that is why I’m writing this.

To be clear, Mr. Shmooze is not a man but a book written by Richard Abraham with the official title, “Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships.”

But his message is exactly what schmoozing should be. Not used-car salesman, syrupy talk — but sincere and real.

“Schmoozing is the ability to resonate emotionally with other people,” says Abraham.

In today’s technology-laced business world, a critical method has been lost: human interaction.

Mr. Shmooze recaptures that in the book as an over-the-top character who is nice to the parking garage guy, kind to the waitress and knows tons about the janitor’s life.

He is the man who refuses to get to know new clients any other way than over a hot breakfast or an afternoon coffee.

“The real key to being a good schmoozer is listening,” says Abraham. “Really listening — and remembering.”

It all sounds like smooth talk, but what does it really mean, I asked Mr. Shmooze.
His example: You’re with a client trying to close a deal, but her cell phone keeps ringing. She’s in the middle of a family crisis — trying to find a nursing home for her mother.

What should the trained schmoozer do? Tell the client you understand she’s preoccupied and offer to meet another time. When you get back to the office, find resources on nursing homes and e-mail them to her.

“People remember that,” says Abraham.

I know what you’re thinking: Do these schmoozers really exist?

Meet Indianapolis’ own Mr. and Ms. Shmooze, who both won Relationship Mindset Awards in July, presented by Relationship Strategies Institute, an Indianapolis firm that consults on business relationships.

Ms. Shmooze Karen Kell’s story: She almost never gives out business cards. She only collects.

“They don’t need my card. I have theirs, and I know I will be calling them,” says Kell, owner of Freedom Profit Recovery in Fishers.

But Kell’s calls are just the beginning. Her style of business is all about face-to-face encounters.

On her calendar this week were five lunches, plus a coffee on Friday morning.
Most of the time, she says, she’s not even trying to sell her business. Instead she’s getting to know the people and see what their needs are. Perhaps she connects them with another business that might be able to help them.
The funny thing is, she says, that a giving strategy almost always ends up with her getting more business.

“It’s all one big circle,” she says.

Now meet Indianapolis’ Mr. Shmooze, David Dishong. His company has an appropriate name: Amicus (Latin for friend) Financial.

He says he sees all his business clients as friends. And that’s not just talk.
Dishong gets calls from clients for reasons far beyond the financial world. Like the time a client lost his job and needed to talk. Dishong found some connections and the client found a new job.

His motto: It’s about them.

“If I always take that mindset, I can’t go wrong,” he says.

Now that’s a real-life Mr. Shmooze.

Contact Dana Knight at (317) 444-6012 or
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