Have you ever been asked to recommend someone whose business practices you do not admire? Or with the advent of social media, have you been asked to “Like” a person or a business with which you have no familiarity?

In the hot seat

The situation of being asked to do this type of favor, in reality, puts you in the hot seat. It’s not pleasant and how you handle these moments is an indication of your true brand. In particular, if you become embarrassed and too shy to as diplomatically as possible say “no” to “Jane” whose delivery may not be in alignment with yours, you may dissuade others from working with you. In all likelihood, many share your impression. Therefore recommending Jane will hurt you.

In the case of social media, when someone whom you do not know asks you to “like” their page or business, that’s just as awkward or even more so. Given the enormity of the widespread social networks, ramifications may occur and with which you do not wish to get caught in the middle.

It’s a wonderful idea to support one another as fully as you possibly may. The catch is you must only do so if the other service or party meets your guidelines. Otherwise, you will be the one to suffer the consequences.

So how can we turn these awkward moments into opportunity? I don’t have the perfect answers but here are some guidelines:

When you are asked in-person for a recommendation but you feel uncomfortable providing it, use the sales technique of returning the question with a question. Ask the other party what they had in mind for a recommendation relaying you give these serious consideration and you want to be certain it will benefit both of you. It quickly becomes evident it’s either an opportunistic request or an opportunity for both of you. This is where the conversation usually stops.

From awkward to advances

In the matter of social media “likes” – begin a discussion on your profile page by asking your friends how they would handle the situation. This is where awkward moments advance into opportunity.

Your question turned to discussion generates more activity in your community. Everyone can learn from the consensus of what is expected and what is acceptable. You will also gain a much better idea of how to proceed and those who participated feel good too.

Another avenue to pursue when someone whom you do not know requests a “like”, take the time to message them back and ask to get to know one another a little bit better before you take that step. You just might make an excellent new friend and one who is willing to promote you too. In sales this is called a win-win, and for marketing purposes it becomes strengthening your brand

The fact that you are willing to pose the question of how to handle these situations allowing others to see you don’t know everything but are ready to learn, demonstrates that you are to be trusted.

Trust is one of the most important elements in anyone’s brand. Develop this well and you will be headed for an applauded brand and a very Smooth Sale!