Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meet Motivational Speaker and Author Robin Jay

This really is turning out to be a week packed with great stuff. Today, motivational speaker and author Robin Jay joins us to chat about her award-winning book The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships between 12 and 2. Robin has also written articles for Forbes.com, Hospitality Executive Magazine, and What’s On Magazine.

Welcome to The Book Connection Robin. It’s great to have you here!

Thank you so much! It’s a pleasure to share with you and your readers.

It sure seems like you are one busy woman. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but I have lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for more than 33 years. I guess I really don’t like the cold. We’re in the middle of summer right now and even though it’s 110*, it’s still better to me than scraping ice off a windshield in January!

I sold advertising for more than 18 years. During that time, I hosted more than 3,000 client lunches and I saw my sales increase by more than 2000%! I knew I was on to something and I wanted to share that information with other business professionals so they could also enjoy more success.

Let’s talk about relationships for a minute. Why is it important to build good, strong relationships in business? How can you teach people this skill which is so vital to success?

Ask yourself, “When was the last time I was made to feel special…REALLY special?” I’m afraid that most people would be hard-pressed to remember exactly when someone made them feel special. And it’s quite likely that no one has made your client feel special, either. I would take my clients out to lunch and make it all about them. By asking them about what’s going on in their lives, listening to their answers and sharing quality time with them, I’ll manage to make them feel special. If they enjoy their time with me, then they are going to want to do business with me. There is an art to it.

Relationships are important because people prefer to do business with people they LIKE. No one every spent their money with someone they hated just because they had the best price. Almost everyone has traveled farther or spent more because they preferred the way one business operated over another. It’s what Brian Tracy calls “The Friendship Factor.” In other words, people will not do business with you unless they are convinced that you have THEIR best interest at heart. You really have to believe it, too. You have to put your client’s or customer’s needs first…and in doing so, your needs will ultimately be met as well.

And yes, it’s a skill that anyone can learn IF they have the right attitude and the willingness to learn it. In my book, I reveal specific ways in which the reader can differentiate themselves from their competition. So few people work to elevate themselves to a higher level - that it can actually be quite easy to sail past your competition by applying the principles that I share in my book.

Your book, The Art of the Business Lunch is receiving rave reviews and endorsements. What is it about this book that makes it so popular?

I think it’s popular because it’s so easy to follow! There are so many ideas in the book that you can implement to achieve outstanding results. It’s not brain surgery. It’s just a lot of ideas that will make you say, “Hmm…I never thought of that!”

Here’s an example: when you are first seated, hand your credit card to your server. Not only does it eliminate any awkwardness at the end of the meal, but it also designates you as the host of the party. This is especially important if you are a female taking male clients to lunch or dinner. And, by the way, everything in the book can apply to breakfast, lunch, dinner or even networking mixers. I have a chapter on networking luncheons, too. A lot can go wrong, but if you’re prepared, you will excel.

This book has been called, “the definitive guide to the business lunch”. It includes topics such as how to select the right restaurant, how and what to order, and when to bring up the subject of business. It even tells you what the one entrée is that should never be ordered at a business lunch. Are business deals really jeopardized by ordering the wrong food?

Absolutely! It might rattle a client’s confidence if they are asked to sign a $100,000.00 contract by a man wearing his spaghetti sauce all over his shirt. Never, ever order spaghetti with red sauce! And with so much riding on your business deals, why not stack the deck in your favor by being completely prepared for whatever comes your way?

While listening to your sample chapter online, I picked up on an important skill which I have struggled with in the past--active listening. How can people improve their abilities in this area so that they aren’t doing all the talking? How does this build good relationships?

Listening is the most important part of a great lunch. If you are just trying to sell something to your client or customer, then you are likely going to spew a bunch of facts, features or benefits. If you are trying to HELP your client, then you are going to have to LISTEN to learn about and understand what your client needs. If I think I’m the best salesperson in the world and I’m trying to sell you dog food, but I don’t know that you don’t own a dog, how am I helping you? Unless we learn to LISTEN to what our clients are saying, how can we really be of service to them?

Plus it goes back to what I said earlier about making your clients feel special. Asking questions and then listening to their answers and responding accordingly works to build a solid relationship. By listening to them, you will discover common ground. Once you have found that, you will be able to share even more, eventually building a friendship. Everyone’s job really is to make friends. The more friends you have, the more successful you will be. A wider circle casts a greater net. You may not know someone in particular, but if one of your friends knows that person, then a connection is just a quick lunch date away.

If you could give a sales person only one piece of advice about business lunches, what would it be?

Go on as many as possible. I think anyone in sales should have a minimum of five business “dates” each week…including networking events, breakfasts or dinners. Do that for one month and you’ll see a difference in your sales by the end of the month.

Where can people find out more about The Art of the Business Lunch and your speaking engagements?

They can visit my website at http://www.robinjay.com/.My contact information is there and they can e-mail me if they have any specific questions or lunch stories to share. My books are available wherever books are sold, but for a signed copy, they should visit my website. I also have audio books available (6-CD sets or Mp3). And if they mention “The Book Connection,” I will include a special gift!

Most of my upcoming speaking engagements are private, corporate events, however I have a unique event coming up here in Las Vegas on Saturday, 9/29. I will be speaking at the Creative Cooking School. This class is being put on by the College of Southern Nevada. For more information, you can visit: http://creativecookingschool.com/CourseSchedule.Asp?CourseID=389. The course fee includes a copy of my book and they will learn how to create a top gourmet lunch. It should be a fun day. And Las Vegas is perfect at that time of year!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank you for hosting this wonderful interview. You must have been in sales at some point, because your questions demonstrate an understanding of the most important aspects of business. And for your readers, if they have any questions at all, they can contact me. I enjoy being able to help others and coach them to achieve their dreams, too.

Thank you for joining us today Robin. It has been great getting to know more about you and your award-winning book. I wish you continued success.

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