Networking at Walmart? Sounds strange of course. Yet it really does work. Walmart or any other store for that matter.
I have a very good friend who moved across the country. Her home here became a rent house and the last renter up and left behind a big mess. I’m organizing the repairs, paint, new carpet, etc. Anyway I need to run some errands in the truck. It won’t start. I let it sit on the battery recharger. Won’t start. Try to jump start from another car, won’t start. I’ve got other things to do with my time. I want the truck running so I can get the work started and finished and her house rented, and my time back. Battery cables are old and so is the charger, my husband replaces both, jump starts. Walmart is still open and if I hurry I can get the battery replaced. I head on over.
Twenty minutes later I’m out of there, what luck! But during that time amazing things happen. I bump into an old friend, talk, back to the waiting room. Then I get an offer to buy my truck. (Sorry, not for sale). I’m also told about a job opening.
Truck fixed and I’m on the road. So nice to hear it start.
Now twenty minutes isn’t very long, but others are waiting too. Smile, start conversations, or others will start one with me. Either way works. Several of us are in the waiting room, complete strangers. But we don’t just sit there invisible to each other, we talk.
“What are you waiting for?”
“Truck won’t start, battery dead!”
“What kind of truck?”
“An old Dodge Dakota, long bed”
“I’ve been looking for one of those, would you consider selling it?”
“Nope, it is handy to have a truck around when you need one, esp. the long bed. Right now I’m having work done on a friend’s house, need the truck.”
“… so you are fixing up a friend’s house, I know someone who is looking for help, they need someone who can paint, repair. We have benefits. . . Can you pass on the word?
“Sure! I’ll give him a call on my cell while we wait.”
And as I leave, because the truck was ready:
“Is that your truck? Just what I need, are you sure you don’t want to sell it? Here if you ever change your mind, give me a call!”
Believe it or not, I have sold a vehicle at Walmart before, an old Suburban to one of the department managers, it never made it to the Thrifty Nickel. I’m sure I could have sold that truck too, but not today. Not bad use of time, much better than playing phone tag.
Try this experiment sometime. Next time you are at the store, see how many smiles you can collect. Instead of being in a mad rush, take your time and smile at others. Open your mouth, start conversations, esp in the checkout line. Won’t you rather make a new friend while waiting, and believe it or not, sometimes those lines can move much too quick, I need to start grabbing names and numbers of the interesting ones.
At the mall one day, a lady came up and gave me a great big hug. I must know her, couldn’t remember at first. She had my name and is very happy to see me. She looks familar. I feel stupid, yet as she walks away, it hits me, the lady I met in the park last week, another great networking place. You’d be amazed at the connections you can make there, esp if you have little ones with you.
Where ever you go, if they are people, you can network, build relationships. A skill I’m still working on, esp. the name thing, I need to be in the habit of taking notes afterwards. Now put me in a crowd of people, and I seem to close up, go into hermit mode, fixing that, a work in progress.