One of the biggest, untapped prospecting opportunities on how to get business is our own personal and professional networks.
But many of us are reluctant to do it. Why?
Most common reasons are because you:
- Have a fear of rejection
- Don’t want to sound stupid
- Don’t want to mix business and friendship
- Don’t want to feel awkward
- Believe there’s no value in it
- Don’t know how to explain what you do to a lay person
None of these have to be true. They’re only true if you believe them — or if you’re not prepared to address them.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Let’s analyze each of these reasons…
Reason #1: You Have a Fear of Rejection
Well all fear rejection. But we have to get over that fear! You can train yourself to overcome it to a great extent.
Some of us question whether there’s real value in what we do. You have to change the story you tell yourself.
Don’t take rejection personally. Remember: People are NOT rejecting you; they’re rejecting the request/offer you’ve made.
Reason #2: You Don’t Want to Sound Stupid
Fear of sounding stupid is only valid when you haven’t prepared. You have to practice. Specifically, you have to practice telling others what you do, whom you serve and how you can serve them.
Reason #3: You Don’t Want to Mix Business and Friendship
Here again, you’re telling yourself an inaccurate story. People mix business and friendships all the time!
But there is a right way and a wrong way of mixing these. You have to sound confident about what you do. And don’t make “What do you do for a living?” the first question you ask others.
Reason #4: You Don’t Want to Feel Awkward
Most of our parents weren’t freelancers. They worked in more traditional settings. So many of subconsciously tell ourselves that our work isn’t legitimate.
Awkwardness goes away when we believe in the service we’re providing.
See Episode 22, Seven Tips for Developing Stronger Self-Confidence, for more ideas on how to overcome this.
Reason #5: You Think There’s No Value in Tapping Your Network
New research shows that weak and dormant connections in our network are often more powerful than our stronger connections. People with weak ties to us move in different circles. They can provide us with entirely new information.
Dormant ties can also offer new information because we things have probably changed since we last connected with them. They also often have different perspectives from those in our immediate circles. And with different perspectives come different people they can refer you to.
Read more about this research here: Finding the Hidden Value in Your Network.
Reason #6: You Don’t Know How to Explain What You Do
Solution: Develop a series of “layman’s value statements” or elevator pitches.
Develop a different pitch for:
- Industry contacts/insiders
- People not in the biz but savvy enough to get it easily
- People completely removed from your business and anything related to sales/marketing
A few rough examples:
Industry Insider: I work with software companies to help them write the marketing and sales content they don’t have time to write internally. Unlike many freelance writers, I bring a software industry and sales background into every client engagement. And that allows me to deliver copy and content that speaks directly to this discerning audience.
This pitch uses industry language and details how you’re different from your competitors.
Savvy Contact Who’s Not in the Biz: I work with software companies to help them write the marketing and sales content they don’t have time to write internally. Companies that sell complex and expensive products need solid content to help market those products. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the internal staff to get it all written. That’s where I come in. I’ve been writing in this industry for four years, and I leverage my sales and software background in every client project.
This pitch uses simplified language and provides context for understanding how your service meets existing needs. It explains your value in simple terms.
Lay Person: I work with software companies to help them write the marketing and sales materials they don’t have time to write internally. Companies that sell complex and expensive products need solid written materials to help market those products. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the internal staff to get it all written. That’s where I come in.
This pitch is simplified even further. It doesn’t discuss how you’re different from your competitors. Too much detail here will only create confusion.
There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!
Don’t underestimate what people can bring to you — even if they don’t really understand what you do. If you take the time to explain your business in simple terms, you might be surprised by what comes back.
In business, relationships are everything. One of your biggest sources of potential business is the people who know, like and trust you. Don’t limit your search to people already in our industry.
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Till next time,