Every YES starts with KNOW: Use digital information to build stronger relationships
INDIANAPOLIS — Transportation leaders were trained at STN EXPO Indy on using old-fashioned good interests as well as using the Internet to gather information to build better team relationships and relationships business.
“You have to do your homework before you meet people,” digital expert Sam Richter said on Saturday’s show Transportation Directors Summit at Topgolf in Fishers.
He advised attendees that before meeting with their employees, superintendent, school board, customers or suppliers, find out what is important to them and let them talk about themselves, what connects and relationships.
“Before I meet people, I do some homework and say, ‘Guess what I found?’ It attracts people’s attention. Continue with “Tell me a little about that”. And then I shut up and listen. People like to talk about themselves. Give them the opportunity to do that,” Richter told attendees.
The advantage of letting others speak for themselves is that we often learn interesting and sometimes relevant information, he added.
He recalled that when his stepfather died 22 years ago, hundreds of his clients came to see his wife at the funeral and said, “Ken really knew me. Richter said his stepfather knew people’s health issues, hobbies, likes and dislikes.
“How is it that years before Google, he was in contact with people? he asked. “It’s a state of mind. We used to take people out for two hour lunches and just talk.
Richter said he learned the importance of relationships from his grandfather, who owned a pharmacy. He shared that his “Papa Milt” was Amazon before Amazon. He delivered prescriptions along with gifts to his customers, such as toys and ice cream for the children.
“I don’t lose money, I build relationships,” said Papa Milt.
Finding out about the other side builds trust through information the other person doesn’t know we know, Richter explained. People can sense a positive, confident energy that emanates when the person they’re talking to has done their research.
He compared this with the school’s typical classroom teaching to “check the facts.” “The goal in our case isn’t to be right, it’s to connect and ask better questions,” he said.
Finding something to connect with can also help introverts feel more confident when meeting someone new.
This also applies to those trying to find a job. Employers make decisions and people want to work with people they like. The little things become the big things when you’re in the “maybe” pile, which can be the difference between getting that job and making that connection, Richter pointed out. People in general tend to like certain other people due to the accumulation of little things over time.
The digital world can be leveraged to help with information gathering, but Richter noted that it can be complicated without proper knowledge. “The power of good technology is that it’s intuitive,” he explained. “The problem with good technology is that it’s intuitive – we don’t really learn how to use it.”
Listen to a conversation with Sam Richter on the School Bus Nation Podcast.
When researching information on a potential business relationship, Richter looked at networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Facebook isn’t as desirable, he said, because its algorithms won’t filter through thousands of results unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. However, there are 760 million users on LinkedIn. He advised attendees to always check a person’s LinkedIn profile before meeting them, just to get an idea of their background.
“It’s confusing to tell someone you looked at their Facebook page, but you can easily tell people you got information from their LinkedIn page because it’s supposed to be available for free,” he said. he noted.
Search engines, while looking simple, hold a lot of potential with tips and tricks. Richter pointed out that Google is not just a search engine. It is a product owned by an advertising company that wants users to click on advertisements when searching for information.
“Why am I telling you about Google? I want you to understand other people,” he said.
Google only captures about four to five percent of the accessible internet, Richter noted, while the dark side of the internet enables the discovery of relevant and credible data for presentations, research and more.
He led participants through exercises on their phones and laptops that used search engine strategies to find information quickly and efficiently.
For example, putting quotes around a query tells Google to find that specific phrase. Using an asterisk for unknown variables expands the field so that Google fills in the blanks. If a page is not found, it can still be cached, meaning the information is still persisted like a Polaroid.
Typing “site:” and then a specific URL in front of a query tells Google not to vacuum the internet, but to limit the search to a specific website. Sites contain pages that companies want you to see, such as marketing copy, while subdomains are hidden pages that are not visible in the first round of search results but may contain relevant information.
Even documents such as PDFs and PowerPoints can be found through the Internet, as Google searches the text of these files. Think like the author to find specific documents, Richter suggested.
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A nefarious actor who knows how to find information can do a lot of damage, so it’s important to protect your digital reputation as well, Richter added. He will speak more on this topic during Sunday’s “Don’t Steal the Cheesecake” keynote at the Indiana Convention Center.
STN President and Publisher Tony Corpin closed the day by emphasizing the importance of leveraging technology to one’s advantage. While some tactics might be considered guerrilla marketing, he said, there are only a limited number of ways to attract school bus drivers these days.
“Empower yourself and others to leverage data and connect with people,” he encouraged attendees.
Ruth Newton contributed to this report.