External Orientation

This coaching session discusses one of the foundational concepts in system outlined in my book The 60 Second Sale. That concept is called having an EXTERNAL ORIENTATION.  Here is the definition:

External Orientation:  Placing the benefit of others as the primary objective in your interaction.

Video Transcript

One of the most important concepts we focus on when it comes to relationship-based sales or relationship-based business development is the concept of having an external orientation. That means that you focus on delivering value to someone first before you ask for anything from them. This is consistent in our approach to growth and to business development all the way through.

Take the example of going to an event or meeting someone new for the first time. You’re at the event, somebody comes up to you, and they start talking to you. You wouldn’t go up to them, you wouldn’t look at them and say, “Hey, guess what? I work for XYZ company, and I can help you in this way,” or, “Hey, guess what? I’m an attorney and someday, you’re going to get sued and you’re really going to want to know me.” That’s not the correct approach.

While people may not use language that is that direct or that harsh, I see folks all the time going up to people at networking events or even when they meet them for the first time and saying to them, “Hi, what’s your name? My name is Dave, and I work for the law firm of Smith, Jones, & Harris. We handle family law matters, and half the people in the world are going to get divorced. I’m sure you know somebody who’s going to need a family law attorney. Will you keep us in mind?” I see that all the time. I see it every time I do one of these sessions. Somebody comes up to me, and they say, “What’s the best way to ask for referrals?”

My answer, don’t ask for referrals until you’ve delivered something of value. How do you do that? Well, when you have an external orientation in a one-on-one conversation, you spend 70% of the time listening to the other person and 30% of the time talking. What does that look like? In an introduction, you say something along the lines of, “Hi. My name’s Dave. What’s your name?” Of course, you would put your own name in there and not my name. After that, the conversation begins with, “So, tell me. What brings you here today?” or, “How do you know so-and-so?” if you’re at a party and there’s a host. Look for a point of common ground to start the conversation.

After that, you say something along the lines of, “So, tell me, what do you do for work, or what do you do for a living?” That will get the person talking, and then, all you need to do is continue to prompt them to tell you a little bit more about themselves. “What do you do for work?” “Oh, I’m an insurance actuary.” Your next response, regardless of what they say, is, “Wow, that’s fascinating. How did you get into that?” Everybody has a story. Everybody has a story that tells how they got into the work that they’re doing. What you want is you want them to tell you their story. Asking them a couple of questions about what they do for a living and how they got into it is a great way to break the ice and to get them to start talking.

As the conversation progresses, you’re looking to do two things. You’re looking to understand what their goals are or if there’s a particular challenge that they have in their business or in their personal life that you can help with, and then you’re looking to demonstrate that external orientation. What I tell people all the time is the best way to demonstrate an external orientation is by introducing someone to another person who can help solve their problems or who can help them achieve a goal.

If, for example, you meet a person and you find out that they’re an avid fisherman, they enjoy spending time out on the water, and you know someone, you have a friend who also loves to fish, and they know a couple of good spots in the local area to fish, you can offer to make the introduction of the two people so they can exchange ideas as to where they can go fishing, what type of bait to use, who are good boat captains or good charter companies that they can use to pursue this hobby.

If you want to keep it strictly related to business, you can focus on what’s going on in their business. How’s the year going? How are you going to finish the year? How is the economy treating you? Then, if you feel like the conversation is not going anywhere, and you just don’t know who to introduce them to, just ask. Come right out and say, “So, tell me, who could I introduce you to that would change everything for you?” or, “Of you could change one thing in your business, what would it be?” Then, when they give you those answers, those are clues to how you can connect them with somebody else who can help them.

The goal is not necessarily to solve all their problems or even to solve their biggest problem. The goal is to make an effort after the conversation ends to connect them with someone. Why are we doing this? Number one, because it demonstrates your external orientation, and that’s the best way to start a relationship. Number two, you might actually solve a problem for them, and then they’re going to want to help you by solving a problem for you or by referring you to someone else. Then, number three, think about it this way. The world would be a better place if we just went around helping each other all the time. Now, I know that sounds altruistic, but that’s the thought process you need to have.

Here’s your action item from this video from our time together right now. What I want you to do is I want you to go up to three people in the next five days, and I want you to introduce yourself. I want you to ask them the questions that we just talked about. I will include the questions below the video in the action items that I send to you, but you’re simply going to ask them who they are, what they do for a living, how they got into that. You’re going to tell them that that’s fascinating. Then, you’re going to find out what their goals are, either personal or professional goals. You’re going to find out what’s going on in their business. Find out if there’s anything they could change, what it would be. Find out if there’s anyone that you could introduce them to that could change everything for them, who would that person be?

Then, after you finish that conversation, you’re going to look to introduce them to someone else. Think about it this way. If you do that three times a week, 52 weeks a year, you’re talking about over 150 different people that you’re going to reach out to help. If just 10% of those, just 15 of those reciprocate, and they introduce you to someone who can do business with you, those 15 clients could change the trajectory of your business, change the trajectory of your life.

The idea is to go out, connect with three new people each week, help three new people each week, make introductions from three new people to three other people that you know, and you’re going to see the effect it has on your business in the long term. More importantly than that, you’re creating a new habit, the habit of external orientation, and you’re reinforcing it on a regular basis.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can find information about it on page 4 and 5 of my book titled: The 60 Second Sale: The Ultimate System for Building Lifelong Client Relationships in the Blink of an Eye.

Ready to move on to coaching session number two? Follow this link: Relationship Revenue: An Overview