Asking for business can feel very daunting, sometimes unsavory, to some people. The reality is, asking for business need not be so hard or uncomfortable. Think of it as an extension of good service. Here are a few things to consider the next time you feel weary about asking for work.
- It’s not always about making the sale now. Asking for work shouldn’t be the first thing you think about when you meet with a prospect. Instead, think about how you may be the best solution, the most helpful and the most useful.
- Building strong relationships are the foundation of your future. Make sure that every time you ask for work, it furthers the relationship. Everything you do should build value for the future.
- Know your goal and how you will get there. Clearly define actionable steps that will help you reach your client’s goals and you have already furthered your own success.
- Keep your quick pitch in your pocket. If you know your quick pitch cold, it will always be ready for you to use.
- Uncover obstacles and brainstorm solutions before you encounter them. Anticipate delays for earning new business and work at removing them before they become a gating factor.
- Be Yourself. This may be the most important piece. People hire people they like and trust. Never give anyone a reason to distrust you. Say what you mean and follow-up on your promises.
Asking for business may never be easy, but it can be more comfortable. Build your relationships for the long haul and don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
Focus. It is a crucial element to success. I am not talking about minimizing environmental distractions, although that is helpful. I am talking about focusing your targets, pitches and short-term goals. Think about it. Which is more attainable? To “lose weight” or “lose 5 lbs over 10 weeks.” Having a clearly defined path helps you create a specific list of actionable items that you can systematically achieve.
So, what does this mean for your business? It means understanding:
- Your value proposition is and how to apply it.
- Exactly which services you offer successfully.
- Who most benefits from your skills and services.
- What kind of work you make money on.
- That it is ok to turn away non-lucrative work.
Perhaps most importantly… it means you just can’t be everything to everyone. However, you can be a deep resource that helps others find solutions they need.
There is an etiquette to everything. Whether in a business or personal setting, it is important making a good impression is often the foundation of ongoing relationships. Social networking has experienced exponential growth and we use online tools for almost everything. Just as in face-to-face interactions, there are expected behaviors online that aren’t published hard and fast rules. Here are a few tips to help you navigate Linked In’s unwritten etiquette rules:
- Don’t Be Self-Serving. It hurts, but it is true. People aren’t necessarily interested in what you have to say. However, they are looking for solutions to their business problems. Don’t sell yourself in a “me, me, me” kinda way. Instead, provide helpful information that directs people towards the solutions they crave.
- Don’t Post Constantly. If you are constantly showing up in someone’s feed, you could be sending a slew of wrong messages to those individuals (desperation, boredom and needy are just a few descriptors!). Helpful content is important, but pace yourself. Just 10 minutes a day on Linked In several days a week should do the trick.
- Don’t Connect to People You Have Never Met. This is counterproductive to building your network on Linked In. Too many random connections throw off Linked In’s algorithm for feeding you the “people you may know” feature, making it less productive for you over the long-run. However, if you find someone you do want to meet, have a good business reason and ask for an introduction from a mutual connection. If you don’t have a mutual connection, be very selective as to who you reach out to and don’t always expect a response.
- Don’t Criticize or Comment Negatively. It is ok to share your constructive opinion on something, but avoid negative or foul language at all times. These outbursts reflect poorly upon you within your network.
- Don’t Promote Your Facebook or Twitter Presence on Linked In. Social networking is built for relationship development purposes. Don’t ever blanket-announce your broader social presence. Get to know individuals before asking them to “like” your Facebook page. You really want someone to follow you on Twitter? Then find and follow them first. The same goes for all other social outlets.
- Don’t Send Messages With, “I see you viewed my profile…” Although you are able to find this information out, don’t use it against anyone! This sends a spooky vibe you just don’t want to be associated with! Build legitimate business reasons for connecting to others on Linked In.
- Don’t post the Mundane. Keep it relevant and informative. People really don’t care what you ate for lunch, that you are having a tough day or that you love your neighbor’s dog.
Linked In is a great tool for deepening relationships with individuals. Use it to its fullest potential by creating a full profile, joining and participating in groups and keeping up to date on business happenings. Steer clear of these unspoken etiquette guidelines and you should be good to roll!