Stop people dead in their tracks with empathy

Small business owners

A lot of my work is teaching small business owners how to ‘Stop people dead in their tracks’.

Another way to describe this is: Writing copy or a script that gets people’s attention.

And more than that, copy that evokes an emotional reaction leading to ACTION.

Getting others to take action as a result of our communication is the aim of all sales and marketing activity, in my book.

Yesterday, I was presenting to an audience of around seventy small business owners, when the slightly unusual happened: one of the contributions from the audience stopped ME dead in my tracks.

I like to encourage audience participation as you will know, and generally achieve a fairly high level of this in part because my sessions usually contain quite a lot of provocative statements and questions.

I like to get people, not just thinking, but also questioning, challenging and coming up with new things to test so that they will get better results. It’s a simple concept, but most people I meet tend to prefer to stick with what they already know, rather than exploring novel alternatives.

Yesterday, however, I was presented with an alternative which I will share with you now.


In this session, I was talking about how to save time when networking.

One of the ways to do this is to qualify the person you’ve just met as quickly as possible – in terms of whether they are likely to become a customer or a good referrer – so that you don’t waste time talking excessively to people with whom you have no real business future. I must qualify this a little by adding that I don’t believe one should be looking just for ‘what’s in it for me?’ but rather ‘what’s in it for us?’ I don’t advocate selfishness, merely a quicker route to market for both of you because you both understand the reciprocity of the relationship, AND are both going to act in accordance with this principle.

After demonstrating a relatively simple technique to qualify the other person, a man stood up and said, ‘But if the other person was new to networking and didn’t really understand how to go about getting results, (or, as I had put it, didn’t understand the rules of the game that we play,) then I would want to try and help them.’

This stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t disagree with this ‘altruistic’ principle, and even repeated to the audience my praise for this man’s point several minutes later.

Open to learning

I learned a great lesson from this guy. On the one hand, I must always remain open to learning from others at all times, and on the other, never, ever to be so pedantic about my idea being ‘the best’ idea.

Fast route to market

I always say at the start of my sessions, that I’m not here to make anyone wrong. I’m not trying to tell people that what I teach is ‘better’ than what you are already doing, particularly if it’s working for you. I always aim to give alternatives that can ADD to your repertoire, alternatives that have produced a faster route to market for our business, and are therefore worth testing.

I go on about how ‘Dialogue’ must be your aim in this busy 21st Century world, both off and online. And with that principle at the heart of our hugely successful business, once again, I would love to hear from you – to dialogue or converse with you – so that we may discover, together, novel or alternatives that can inspire us and produce better results.

I know it sounds corny – for which I make no apologies – but your success is what I’m really after.

Controversial comments


Who do you know who would enjoy joining the Inspirationist Community? Someone who enjoys discovery, intellectual debate and new learning?

Please forward them this Blog link and ask them to get involved. Thank you.


All you need to know for online follow up after face to face networking. Available as CD or download


Posted on May 13, 2011, in Be Inspired, Compel Your Audience to Buy, Education, Get The Results You Want, Psychology & Influence, The Business of Show. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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