Amit met us as we pulled into a popular tourist site. My immediate thought was, "Oh no, another pesky street kid trying to sell me junk I don't need." He knew I was thinking it - he gets that reaction all the time, I'm sure. Salespeople know this reaction all too well, no matter what they sell. Depending on your timing, you could be the customer's best friend, or the anti-Christ.
Amit didn't do what I expected him to...what all his competitors do. He didn't pounce on me and immediately jump into his sales pitch. At 13, this guy already knows about differentiating himself in an overcrowded marketplace. He started with a simple, "Hello, where are you from?" I was intrigued. I must admit, I got pretty adept at brushing off these trinket sellers before they even open their mouths, but Amit was different. He was establishing a human connection, not just launching immediately into his spiel.
So I played along and told him I was from America. "I'm Amit," he said, walking alongside of me to the entrance. "What's your name?" I told him my name, and then he did something really different. "Look at my face," he said. "Remember my eyes. You remember me when you come back out, okay?" Done. Human connection completed. It was at that very moment that Amit became more than a salesperson to me. He bacame a person.
When you email a prospect, do you launch right into your pitch? When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, do you use that horrible, generic invitation text, or do you make a human connection first?
In these over-marketed, multi-media saturated times, you'll just be another face in the crowd to us, unless you stop to make that human connection first. It's easy to forget when you have to chase down more volume to make the same numbers you made five years ago. It's easy to get caught up in the process and forget about the people. Speaking from your customers' point of view, if you can establish a simple, authentic human connection, we just might hop off the hamster wheel we find ourselves on these days, and connect back.
Some of you might be curious to know if I ended up buying anything from Amit. When I emerged a couple hours later from the tourist site, there was Amit, and he remembered my name. This kid probably met 200 people in those two hours since he met me. Did I buy anything from him? I did not. I did better than that - I gave him money just to take his picture. He was shocked. I told him twice how incredibly bright he is, and that I'd be telling my friends in America about him. I hope the kid gets to realize his true potential someday.