I received the following e-mail from a young financial advisor named Hunter. He contacted me through Bill Good’s LinkedIn Profile, which you can do, too.
“I am 26 and brand new in the financial-services industry, and all I keep hearing from books, my company, and others is “work your warm market,” aka my personal network. I have called some people from this group and had some decent success closing business. Am I on the right track?
“This is something I am struggling with, because I don’t want to put any of my friends in an awkward position (if that is the case); but I also need to grow my business and accomplish my income goals. Plua, my mentor has never cold called and just grew his very successful business by working his warm market and third party referrals. Any clarity here would be greatly appreciated.”
My reply: “Hunter, let’s talk about your skill in gauging the depth of the relationship. In your personal network are people with whom you have a deep personal relationship. You have worked on projects together. Perhaps you knew them from college. Many are your Facebook friends, and I mean friends. Short of really gross social errors, very few things you can say or do will permanently damage the relationship.
Let’s call this group “real friends.”
Ask them, “Do you know what I do now?” And then no matter what they say, explain what you do and ask them some questions to see if they have a need.
Then set an appointment. If they push back, then gently disengage. They go one step lower in your social ladder: social connections. They are cooler than your “warm market.”
The definition of “social connection” is someone that you know that you would like to do business with, but who would feel awkward if you solicited their business directly.
You have to decide, based on your people-reading skills, which group a person belongs to.
One of your “real friends” might just brush a solicitation off and think no more about it.