Step 3: Convert
All things being equal, we prefer to do business with those we know, like and trust. And all things not being equal, many of us would still prefer to do business with those we know, like and trust. I heard this said at a panel discussion recently and I couldn’t agree more.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored how we can tap into the natural ability we each have to build relationships organically, letting nature take its course without injecting anything artificial into the process to force them to blossom more quickly.
And we’ve seen in this series that the more we get it right up front—with who we connect with and how we connect with them—the easier it is to converse, and ultimately convert that connection to a true relationship. Those who realize this, for example, understand why you wouldn’t send a Facebook friend request or a LinkedIn invitation without crafting a personalized note, any more than you would phone someone you’ve never met and start chatting away without introducing yourself or mentioning a reason for calling.
This week we’ll wrap up the series with a focus on the third step of the organic relationship building process: conversion.
Conversion is about evolving from simply being known to someone, to ultimately being trusted by them. Trusted enough to buy from you, trusted enough to tell their friends and colleagues about you, trusted enough to offer their help to you when you ask for it.
Supporter: Where there’s a natural chemistry and mutual respect. Anyone who likes you will usually be willing to help you out with a favor or spend time with you to give advice and feedback.
Partner: Where there’s a natural synergy between your respective goals. These are folks who can help you expand your business by collaborating with you to develop new markets, products and services. They help not just to feel good, but also because there are direct and tangible benefits to them for doing so.
Customer: Where there’s a natural need someone has that your product or service can fill. For example, corporate training managers, event planners and others who hire speakers for their organizations would be potential customers for me.
Endorser: Where there’s been an actual experience of working with you. These folks can give a whole-hearted recommendation based on their hands-on knowledge. They can help answer questions the prospect may have, thereby serving as your mini-sales force.
The reason some people struggle with networking is that they focus on meeting only those who fit into the Customer category. Or worse, trying to push everyone they meet into the Customer category even when it doesn’t make sense.
Realistically, only a small percentage of folks you’ll come across will ever buy from you. But that doesn’t mean they can’t play a crucial role in your business success as a supporter or partner.
So the key to successfully converting initial connections into productive relationships is to focus your conversations on winning people over as supporters first. Build your know, like and trust factor by finding out what’s important to them, what they’re pursuing, and how you can help.
When you work on gaining someone’s support rather than to trying to leapfrog over into the sale, not only will you put less pressure on yourself with networking, but you’ll also put less pressure on them. And in that natural, relaxed state will the most robust, productive and profitable relationships take root and flourish.