The Fine Points of Shmoozing

Published: October, 2005


Practice development these days employs a wider-than-ever array of techniques. To keep practitioners up to speed on all they can do, Practical Accountant kicks off a new item for its Revenue Enhancers section: “Outside the Box.”

Though cell phones, e-mail, virtual meetings, and other tools have made it easier to connect with prospects and clients, they’ve made it harder to establish good connections, too. In his book Mr. Shmooze: The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships (published by The Richard Abraham Company), sales consultant Richard Abraham maintains that “shmoozing,” or chatting up prospects and clients in-person and hands-on, is “all about interacting with people in a way that creates feelings of warmth, goodwill, and pleasure,” says Abraham.

He also offers the following hints to effective shmoozing:

  1. Figure out what really matters to the prospect. (Hint: It usually has nothing to do with the business at hand.) Capitalize on the opportunity to enter the prospect’s emotional world.

  2. Practice the art of elevation. In every interaction, seek to elevate the prospect’s experience to a memorable level that goes above and beyond the ordinary. For example, a business dinner can become an event to remember when it includes a gift of wrapped steak knives.

  3. Shmoozing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of ways to touch a client or prospect that don’t cost much, including a call during a special event in the client’s life, or honing in on a prospect’s interests and hobbies determined sometimes by nothing more than a careful glance around their desk or office.

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