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How often has this happened to you?

You have a friend you know who would be great in your business, but you have no idea how to start a conversation with her. You’re don’t want to come across as being too “sales-y” or self-promoting, and you’re also not sure how she’ll react when you talk about your business opportunity.

Will she run screaming for the hills or stop taking your calls? Wait – is that her dodging behind the meat counter at your local grocery store (pretending she doesn’t notice you as you make a beeline towards her)? How can you confidently tell friends, family and casual contacts about your business without worrying they are going to avoid you like the plague forever after?

One of the most important skills in network marketing is developing the ability to initiate a conversation about your business, in a way that puts others at ease. Done well, your presentation will flow smoothly and recruiting others will be easy – and enjoyable! Done clumsily, you could stand there like a teenage boy on prom night, red-faced, and stammering – not sure what to say and feeling more embarrassed by the minute.

To help kick off these important conversations, I teach my coaching clients the skill of “relating”. Being able to relate well with your prospects is a real conversational art (and it goes beyond just casual chit chat and rapport building). Relating is the first essential step you need to kick off a sponsoring conversation so your prospects are interested, feel comfortable, and can hear about your business with an open mind – and heart!

When you call up a prospect, you obviously don’t want to hit her right out of the gate with your business opportunity. It’s always best to start off with the usual small talk, so you can ‘warm up’ the conversation. (How are the kids? How was your vacation? Is your mother-in-law still holed up in your spare bedroom?) However, as you segue into talking about your business, these 4 points will make it easier to share about your business, and move her to the next step.

1. Step One: Get Her Attention! – In order for someone to be very interested in hearing about your business, you need to make a statement that grabs her attention. Instead of sharing all the exciting facts and info related to your company, or why YOU think this is the greatest thing going – talk about it from HER point of view. Share how your business opportunity can help your prospect get something (a result, benefit or experience) that is especially important to her – or her family.

For example: If you’re talking to a woman who hates her boss and wants to leave a dead end corporate job to have more time with her kids, you might say:

“Susan, I don’t know if you’re aware, but I have a great business that helps women trapped in the corporate world make a great living and stay home with their kids. Several women I know are making a great income from home, and have a lot more time to spend with their family too”.

Or, let’s say you’re approaching a friend who has loves traveling, but needs more time and money. You might say:

“Wendy, I’ve been thinking of telling you about my business for some time. It’s perfect for women like you who want to have more time and money to enjoy a great life. In fact, I could see how this opportunity would be a fabulous opportunity to do more of the traveling you love”.

When you show others how your business opportunity could provide results or experiences that are important to them, you will get their attention! Try to be as specific as possible and paint a picture that will create an emotional response with the person in front of you – focusing on the exact results or benefits you know are most important to her.

2. Step Two: Be Direct and Don’t Beat Around the Bush  – When speaking about your business, be direct and let people know what you want to talk about and why. Don’t be vague or unclear – it will make them uncomfortable and make your job impossible. You have a great opportunity so be upfront. They’ll appreciate your honesty and see you as a true professional.

“I think this opportunity could be a fit for you also. I know many women who are doing very well with it, so I want to at least let you know about it. If you can spare about 10 min or so, I’d love to share some quick details with you, and see if this is something you might want to check out further. Would that be ok?”

3. Step Three: Get Her Permission to Ask Questions – Rather than spout off a bunch of facts, stats and reasons why you think your prospect should check out your business, you’ll gain a lot more ground by asking questions, and getting her engaged in the conversation.

Asking the right questions is the key to your sponsoring success (more specifics on this in future blog posts). But to put the other person at ease (and open to answering your questions) you want to let her know exactly why you’re being so nosy!

“You know, in order for us both to know if this opportunity is a good fit, would it be OK if I asked you a few quick questions? I’d love to know a bit more about your current goals, and what’s most important to you and your family right now. That way, we’ll be able to better assess how this opportunity could really help you. Is that alright with you?”

4. Step Four: Take the Heat Off! – Nobody likes to feel “sold,” and if people think you’re asking questions to manipulate them into saying yes, they will quickly feel defensive. Make your prospect more comfortable by “taking the heat off”. Let her know upfront that if by the end of your conversation, she just doesn’t think it’s a good fit – that it’s alright to tell you so. This will put you both at ease, and make it easy for you to be real and authentic with each other.

“And – if by the end of the conversation, this business just doesn’t feel like a good fit, just let me know. You won’t hurt my feelings, and I really want to be sure it’s the best choice for you. Most people who learn about it become quite excited, so I at least want to get you all the details – and then you can make the best choice for you”.

Depending on how your conversation goes – you may continue on into a more detailed discussion of your business and all the ways it can help your prospect get what she wants – or set up a quick coffee date or lunch to discuss it in more detail.

By weaving these four points into the beginning of your sponsoring conversation, you’ll be much more successful at introducing the people you care about to your business, and help them easily see the true value that is there for them. And when you’re done, your friends and family will still speak to you and invite you to Christmas dinner – even if they don’t join your team!