The Art of Shmoozing: Connect On a Deeper Level

Published: November, 2005


Cell phones, e-mail, and virtual meetings may have made it easier to reach people, but they haven’t made it easier to connect with people.

That’s why sales consultant Richard Abraham wants to revive the lost art of shmoozing. “Shmoozing is all about interacting with people in a way that creates feelings of warmth, goodwill, and pleasure,” says Abraham, author of “Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships.”

Here’s how to transform yourself into “Mr. Shmooze”:

Determine what matters most to the prospect. It usually has nothing to do with the business at hand. Capitalize on the opportunity to enter the prospect’s emotional world. By paying close attention to prospects and clients, you’ll figure out what really drives them. Take clues from photos displayed in the person’s office or things the person mentions in casual conversation. Be alert.

Practice the art of elevation. Elevate a sales dinner with gifts matching the person’s interests, such as golf balls for a duffer or steak knives for a wanna-be chef. Don’t want to spend money? Send an e-mail with a link or short article relating to the person’s interests.

Follow up immediately. People have short memories.

Don’t limit shmoozing to “people who matter.” Everyone matters, and you can never build too much good will. Tip generously and treat people with respect. Shmoozing service people motivates them to do a good job for your clients. Plus, you never know what a waiter or bartender will be doing down the road.

Selling isn’t about manipulating, talking, or persuading, according to Abraham. It’s about giving and making peoples’ lives better.

“Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships” (Richard Abraham Co., ISBN: 0-9741996-0-5, $19.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and major online booksellers.