Social Business: How to Convert Contacts into CashJune 18, 2019 | By Wayne O'Neill
Most of our coaching clients here at RESET are in one of two phases. They’re either cultivating relationships that can someday be monetized and leveraged to build their legacy, or they’re ready to leverage relationships that they’ve been building over years.
Does this sound opportunistic?
It’s actually not.
Leveraging relationships can be beneficial for both parties, when it’s done right.
What Stops Us From Tapping Business Potential
One of the most abundant areas of hidden prospects is the social relationships you already have — but some people hesitate to talk to these acquaintances about doing business together, because they’re afraid of unintended consequences. They’re afraid of embarrassing themselves or making things awkward. They’re afraid of making people feel used or creating unnecessary pressure in a social friendship.
That fear is legitimate — but it’s not helpful to your business or your social relationships.
When you don’t tap the business potential of a social contact, you’re not only missing a sale, you’re missing the opportunity to genuinely help someone you claim to care about.
At RESET, we teach our coaching clients these five steps to having a business conversation with a social contact, without making things awkward:
Step 1: Set Up the Conversation
The appropriate set-up is key to this conversation going smoothly. Let the person know why you’re calling and prepare them that it’s going to be a different conversation than they’re used to having with you.
You can say something like: “I’m calling because I think I found an opportunity to help advance your business, and I’d like to run it by you.”
Follow that up by letting them know that the conversation will be short, so they won’t worry about being stuck on the phone with you too long. A simple “I promise this will be short. Do you have a quick second? Is this a good time to talk?” goes a long way.
Step 2: Recognize the Relationship
Acknowledge the social familiarity between the two of you, but never assume that just because this person is your friend that they know what you do or what your business is about.
Say something like: “I know that you’re used to interacting with me socially, but here’s something you might not know about me and my business.” Then follow that statement with a brief explanation of what you do.
Step 3: Honor Them
Honor your friendship by letting them know you’ve been thoughtfully listening throughout your social interactions with them.
Say something like: “Based on our discussions, here’s what I think I know about your business or your business problems … ” Then, “My instinct is that you probably want to … ”
Step 4: Open Yourself to Feedback
Now it’s time to shift from talking to listening. You want your acquaintance to know that you’re not making presumptions, and that their input is valuable and you’re paying close attention to it.
To lead into this, you could say something like: “Am I close?” or “Is there more?”
Step 5: Show Your Interest and Lead to the Close
To show your interest without being presumptive, say something like: “I’m not sure I can help you, but I think I can, and I would like to.”
Finally, close the conversation with dignity for both yourself and the other person. No matter if they’ve shown interest in what you’re offering or not.
A good general closing lead-in line is, “You’ve already given me so much time today.”
If you think they’re interested in taking it a step further, you can follow that lead-in with: “Can we meet or chat again?” Then work out a time for that future follow-up conversation. This alleviates the pressure of them feeling that they have to make an instant decision. It also shows that you’re willing to give them time and space to carefully consider everything you’ve discussed.
If you’re sensing that they’re not interested, follow the lead-in with: “No worries. I hope you got the message of respect, and know that I care about you and was thinking about ways to help you succeed. I know we’ll see each other again soon.”
Any direction the conversation goes, one thing is for sure: You will have permanently changed the relationship to go beyond superficial socializing, and you’ll have started to really get to know each other and look out for each other. This change is an incredibly valuable thing, and it will contribute to the legacy of how people think of you and your business in the marketplace.
The Bottom Line
Every day, we help executives uncover and convert their richest relationships. If you think that there are relationships you could be getting more out of, use these five steps to have better, more fruitful conversations.
And if you need help, connect with us at resettogrow.com and schedule a private coaching session.