Instead of waiting for your current customers to run out of whatever you’ve sold them or suddenly decide that yes, they want to join you, and right now!, you’ve got to break out of your small circle of influence. You need to push through to that next level to reach people you haven’t tapped before. There are two main ways to do this:
- Look for “friends of friends,” or
- Find “strangers.”
Let’s talk about the first method – getting referrals.You may think that all your friends know the same people, and to a certain extent, that’s true. The ladies at your church all know each other, your neighbors all know each other, the teachers at school all know each other. But I bet you know at least five people they don’t… and vice-versa.
Think of the party game, “Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon.” If everyone knew only the same people, that game wouldn’t be possible. Either it would only take one degree to reach Mr. Footloose, or it wouldn’t be possible at all. The same goes for the people you know, and the people THEY know. Think about your college roommate, your next-door neighbor’s pet sitter, your spouse’s officemates. These aren’t people in your direct circle, but they’re in that next ring.So how do you get to these people? You ask. Ask your neighbor to introduce you to their pet sitter; ask your college roommate in the next town over to introduce you to her neighbors, ask your spouse’s workmates to broker an introduction with their spouses and neighbors.
Tools online like Facebook and LinkedIn make this very easy, as you can see who your connections are connected with. On LinkedIn, you can even request an introduction to a particular person. The key is to see each person in your current network as a bridge leading to many more circles. All you have to do is cross that bridge!Now, let’s talk about strangers.
When you were young, your mother probably warned you, “Never talk to strangers!”The problem is, many of us are still holding on to that advice, twenty or thirty or forty or more years later! With all due respect to your mom, you need to forget that advice right now. She gave you that advice – and rightly so – when you were too young to protect yourself, or to be able to judge between “nice” strangers and “bad” strangers.
As an adult, you must talk to strangers virtually every day: The teller at the bank, the man holding the door open for you at the grocery store, the customer service person at the cable company… these are all “strangers.” Somehow we think it’s okay to talk to them in one way or setting, but it’s not okay to speak to them about our business. Wrong!If you want to make more money, you have to sell more. And to sell more, you need to talk to more people about what you sell! It’s as simple – and as easy – as that. If you think you can’t talk to strangers about what you do, then you’re basically giving up on 99.99999 percent of the world. Sure, it can be a little anxiety-producing. Here are some ways to make it easier to talk to strangers:
- Assume the best. It was the great Will Rogers who said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” How true! If you approach each interaction expecting that the other person will be interested, or at least polite, your anxiety will drop tremendously. Instead of telling yourself, “
- Take the pressure off. You can make any interaction scarier by convincing yourself that if the other person shuts you down, you’ll die. Instead, minimize the encounter. Inviting them to hear more about your products or business isn’t a life or death situation; think of it as offering them a stick of gum. They may want one; they may not. It won’t kill you either way.
- Play the numbers. Most network marketing companies will give you a good sense of how many “no” answers you can expect to receive before you get a “yes.” Each time you approach a new person, remind yourself that it’s a win either way. If they say “yes,” hurray! If they say “no,” you’re just one step closer to your yes.