I had an interesting conversation at a social event that made me recognize that I, along with people in general, seem to want to make decisions for other people. This is an interesting observation from a sales perspective and it’s also applicable in our everyday lives.
Let me share the story:
An acquaintance and I were discussing how we were each utilizing social media and why we would subscribe to it or not. He was quite skeptical about the purpose and didn’t have many contacts, therefore, his usage was very low. I, on the other hand, had hundreds of contacts and shared with him what I had started to do as another method of prospecting. I indicated that I might look at who he was connected to and then call him to talk about these people to see if it made sense for him to introduce us – only if he thought it made sense. The conversation turned negative and he indicated that he’d have to be careful who he connected with if people were going to “tap” into his network to generate potential prospects. I was very curious and asked why he was so insulted about my request to introduce me to someone that he knew, after all, isn’t that what connecting and networking are all about? I asked if he had an abundance mentality and he said he did.
This lead to an interesting conclusion that some people think it is their responsibility to make decisions for other people. So now I was even more curious and went on to ask: what if the person that I was asking to be introduced to was actually looking for the products or services that I had to offer?
Here was a person making a decision that they couldn’t possibly know the answer to. I asked how him “how he would know if they were or weren’t interested in talking to me if he wasn’t prepared to make the introduction”?
He was starting to get the idea that by intervening on the part of another person he was actually making a decision for them. He initially felt it was his responsibility to “protect” the person however on further discussion he started to see my viewpoint.
I then shared the following scenario with him. What if the three people in the above example all ended up at the same networking event and were introduced, do you think the result would be the same? Probably not. If I introduce two people standing next to each other and they find a common interest and go onto do business or charitable activities together it is because of their doing, not because of me making the introduction.
As we prospect for potential business by referrals and introductions are we being hindered by the people in our network whether that be family, friends, colleagues, business associates or other people that you know because they are hesitant to make an introduction?
What if you were looking for a service and unbeknownst to you a good friend of yours knew of someone that was an expert in that field but they were afraid to introduce you because they didn’t want you to be sold something you didn’t need – how would that make you feel? Your good friend is deciding for you that you aren’t interested in speaking to someone because they, your good friend believes they are looking out for your best interest and protecting you from potentially being sold or harassed.
We all know people who do great jobs and provide wonderful services, why wouldn’t you want to share these people with everyone you know. My challenge for you, take a few minutes and write someone a testimonial that they can use on their social media. Your positive comments will help open more doors and when these people come calling to be introduced to people in your network; don’t be afraid to have that abundance mentality.
Illustration by Rob Green