Ignore mom’s advice. Talk to strangers!
Lori Saitz of Zen Rabbit is an unusual person. When I interviewed her she told me that she used the failure of her gratitude cookie business, Zen Rabbit Baking company, to jump start her current business of helping quiet people build networking connections.
As a marketing consultant with years of experience, Lori knows how important it is to network in order to create new connections. Humans are wired to connect inter-personally. However for a quiet person, networking is a challenge for several reasons:
- They feel vulnerable
- They are concerned that they might say the wrong thing
- It’s difficult to break into a conversation where people are already talking.
At the end of 2016, Lori came up with the idea of helping quiet people feel more comfortable when networking, since she is a quiet person. She learned from her own experience what works when building relationships, particularly in a society that values extroverts. In her opinion, it is not about changing your personal nature, but by using it to your advantage.
About Zen Rabbit
Initially, she thought that her clients would be women. She theorized that although men might also feel uncomfortable networking, they would be more likely to “man up” and force themselves to go to events anyway. She was surprised to learn that she was mistaken. There are as many quiet men as women who are apprehensive about attending networking events.
Lori’s approach to creating a networking strategy is comprised of three parts. Her strategy sessions begin with a focus on clarifying with clients what problem they are solving and for whom? Once they have answers to those questions, then where would you find those people? No need to waste time, money and energy attending the wrong events.
Once at an event, the technique Lori believes is helpful is to ask their networking counterparts questions to get them to talk about themselves. This takes the focus off the quiet person and allows them to use their listening skills. For example, by asking people what they enjoy doing outside of work it becomes easier to make a personal connection. Lori recommends asking people questions such as “What is your favorite part of your job?” or “What are you looking to get out of this event today?”
In the accountability piece, she helps her clients build their confidence in making connections over six months. It is important to attend an organizations’s events more than once in order to enable people to get to know who you are.
After attending any networking event, it’s crucial to then follow up with the connections you made there. So in addition to helping clients with what to do before and at an event, Lori helps develop a follow-up strategy. This piece is critical for building up relationships over time.
Another offering that Lori added per client requests is the Wing Woman program. Lori is prepared to attend an event with a client and help them make introductions and connections.
The Confident Connections Accountability program $1497 is a six month program that includes the creation of a networking strategy, from clarity on your offer to how to work an event, to the best tactics for follow-up. The program also includes two 30-minutes phone calls per month which are recorded.
Lori’s clients are quiet men and women who are creating their own business. Often they have been successful in their career in a corporate environment or perhaps the government. However they have never had to do their own marketing and business networking before. They are loath to talk to strangers. Lori meets her clients at networking events, and online on Facebook and LinkedIn, and through referrals.
The Zen Rabbit Message
Her big message to the quiet people is that it’s ok to be who you are and to use your strengths to your advantage in both the business and personal environments.
Lori recommends the book:
Lori would love to help thousands of people find success for their business through coaching and via speaking engagements. She donates a part of her earnings to one of five non-profit organizations chosen by the clients. In this way she has an additional and significant impact on social organizations.
Her burning desire is to help people make connections in order to be successful. Having a support network is different from networking. She cites the example of a support network organization of like-minded professionals, like Her Corner, an organization for entrepreneurial women who are serious about their businesses. This kind of network will support and pull you up in your business endeavors. These counterparts may not necessarily be your clients, but they will help you succeed. Similar support can be found in a mastermind group or coaching situation.