What’s So Hard About Starting a Conversation?
What’s one of the biggest stumbling blocks of building a strong network marketing business? I’ll admit, there are a few answers to this question (e.g., not having a system comes to mind). However, the one I’m thinking of is the difficulty that so many people have just starting a conversation. Now, you may be saying, “But Eric, I’m a total extrovert – I could have a conversation with anyone at any time.” And, to those two or three people, I say, “That’s awesome! Good for you!”
However, most network marketers aren’t wired that way. Sure, they may be outgoing, but they may feel shy about striking up a conversation with someone because what if it – gasp – turns into a conversation about their business? They don’t want to come off pushy or too salesy. Maybe they’ve been burned before practicing those awful traditional sales methods that left too many of their own favorite people feeling burned and used themselves.
You see, those icky traditional methods encourage people to start conversations with people you know (and even some you don’t), and go straight for the hard sell. No initial genuine conversation – just right to the point: the sale. How awful is that? No wonder so many people who love relationship marketing find this method so yucky! Instead of buying, the other person is left feeling burned and is liable to unfriend, unfollow and generally avoid you.
You want to talk about your business and find out how it can help the people around you, right? Wanting to talk about your business isn’t pushy and neither is wanting to help people. Still, so many network marketers are afraid to start genuine conversations with current and prospective customers and team members. Why?
Roadblocks to conversation
Fear of rejection
No one wants to be rejected, especially when it concerns something they care about… their livelihood. Rejection hurts. But, the worst that can happen is you hear, “no, thanks.” That’s it.
However, how often do we built up the rejection into something much, much bigger? We construct these elaborate narratives in our heads and convince ourselves that the rejection will be far more dramatic and blown out than it would be in reality – they’ll hate us, embarrass us, never speak to us again.
How often has the elaborate narrative you created actually happened? Maybe if you went with the Go-for-No approach when you started out, you may have experienced a firm “No,” but if you come from a place of genuine care and concern and are just trying to have a conversation with them, they may say no (at least at this point. Remember it often takes 7-10 follow-ups before you may get a ‘yes’). And, who knows, you may get a “yes” or they may recommend you to the next person they chat with.
Fear of being ghosted
This is similar to the fear of rejection but designed for digital communication. Ghosting occurs when you’re friendly with someone – you’ve exchanged texts and social media messages with them before and then you send a message about your business and you hear nary a peep from them again.
Your network may get busy – it’s inevitable. However, it’s not likely that they’ll intentionally stop connecting with you altogether. Sure, they may be having a hellish week at work, the kids are sick, and they just found out they have to bake 250 cupcakes for the school bake sale later in the week, but just because they’re too busy to chat now doesn’t mean they’ll never want to. They’ll connect once life has settled down again or apologize profusely when you follow up with them.
Another thing that holds people back is the need to be perfect. Here are two truths: 1.) no one is perfect and 2.) there’s no such thing as the perfect conversation. If you’re waiting until you have the perfect thing to say before you start a conversation with someone, you’ll be waiting a long time… a very, very long time.
If you’re struggling to come up with the right conversation starter, use the scripts developed by Teamzy. They’ll give you just the right thing to say to get the conversation started and get you into the natural flow. Conversations are organic; however, the scripts allow you to move things in the right direction.
Do you ever find yourself analyzing not just what someone said, but the tone they used (or intended to use if you’re reading a text or Facebook message? You think, “Oh, I can’t reach out today to talk to them; they threw that tone my way the last time” or “They really cut the conversation short last time – they don’t want to hear from me ever again.” Then, you begin weaving a tale of why they won’t talk to you. Did you insult them? You know they hate the color orange but you happened to be wearing your orange workout top when you ran into them at the gym – maybe that’s why they didn’t want to talk?
Save your stories for the novel you intend to write one day. Crafting false narratives does no one any good! The truth of the matter is they were running late and said they’d pick up dinner on the way home and now their spouse is home with 3 super hangry children and they simply just didn’t have the time to have a long convo with you – that’s it. There’s nothing more to it. When you over analyze everything, you create barriers to true connections with the people in your network.
So many network marketers aren’t comfortable calling themselves business owners. They may figure that since they don’t have the same daily schedule that Oprah or Elon Musk has that they’re not real business owners. In short, they feel like imposters. They may say, “Oh, well it’s just a little business that gives a bit of extra income. I’m not a real business person.” Nonsense!
Regardless of whether your business is full-time or a side hustle, you run it, therefore, you’re a business owner. Stop diminishing yourself because you don’t feel as if you measure up to someone else. The only person you need to measure up to is yourself. Never, ever make yourself feel small because you don’t feel as if you’re living up to your perception of someone else’s expectations.
All of these barriers get in the way of connecting – truly connecting – with your network. Not only do they impair your relationships, but they also impair your success in business. How will you reach your goals if you’re too busy scaring yourself out of talking to people?
How to start conversations with anyone
- Start with ‘Hello’. No, you don’t have to come up with some clever witticism to grab their attention. Just say ‘Hello. How have you been?’ If you haven’t seen them in a while, you’ll have more to catch up on than if you chat regularly. However, the point is to get the conversation started.
- If you’re online, keep it short and sweet. Focus on making their day. Send a short message or text that says something like, Hey! Just stopping by to say Hi. How are you? I hope you’re having a great day! 🙂
- Use a script. At Teamzy, we’ve developed scripts that are sure to get the conversation started, even if you’re the shyest person on the planet. Rehearse in front of the mirror if you must to help you become more comfortable. Over time, you’ll be able to converse with anyone, anywhere like a pro.
- Ask questions. If you’re not comfortable doing most of the talking, ask questions. Most people love talking about themselves and what they’re up to. Listen to their responses and think of ways you may be able to help, whether it’s a product or service you sell or something you use. Either way, you’re helping them and serving from the heart.
- Follow up. Yes, you need to follow up with all of your relationships, so why not take the opportunity when you see them to do just that? Following up is one of the most important, but often neglected steps of relationship marketing. I’ve said before that following up is an act of love; what better way to show you care than to follow up with them. And, after you’ve said goodbye, be sure to follow up with them via text or Messenger to say hello and check in with them.
Teamzy is more than a CRM; it’s a system to help you create and lead a lasting network marketing business. If you’d like to learn more about starting conversations with anyone, take The Art of Creating Conversations that Convert, a 7-lesson training course we specifically designed to help you overcome the biggest challenges you face in your business. And, for a limited time, we’re offering a discount to network marketers who have taken Bootcamp. What are you waiting for? Sign up today!