If you’ve been around this site for long, you know that I love talking about how to make sales fun. Yes, I think sales can be fun because it’s all about building relationships! And it’s totally possible to make friends and sales offers online. I grew up without all of the technology that makes virtual relationships possible, and I first learned to make business connections in person When the Internet first came around, making friends online seemed a little creepy, didn’t it? But now with social media, most people expect to connect with you online. Today I’m sharing some helpful tidbits–ones that I usually only share with my coaching clients–about how to do this in today’s online world. Social media gives us the opportunity to find, connect with, make offers to, and work with people all around the globe. Whether you’re a health coach or a virtual assistant, the online space is one of the best places to network and grow your business. These simple tips will help you look at the Internet and doing business online in a way that you might not have thought of before.

What My Sister’s Middle School Fundraiser Can Teach Us About Sales

One of my sisters is 13 years younger than me. When she was in middle school, I was an adult and already had my own business. So when she had to participate in a classic school fundraiser–selling wrapping paper or oranges or some other random thing–I was there to give her sales coaching. She was motivated to win the coveted first place prize of a limo ride to Taco Bell, and she was ready to work hard towards her sales goal. As a middle schooler, your network basically consists of friends, family, and neighbors. We didn’t have the Internet or a big circle of people in our city, so we had to go out and ask. I helped her with her pitch as we prepared. She had her goal–going to Taco Bell in a limo–and she had something to offer. Now, her challenge was finding a way to bring it forward without breaking ties with our neighbors. Together, we came up with a unique pitch that was more than just asking them, “Hey, do you want to buy these oranges?” We found a way to be friendly, make sales, and still be friends with the neighbors at the end of it all. (And she won, by the way!)

Making an Offer Doesn’t End the Relationship                            

You might be like my sister and have something to offer and people that you want to talk to about it, but you’re wondering:

  • How do I start the conversation?
  • How do I continue the conversation?
  • How do I make an offer?
  • If they say no, how do I keep going in the conversation so that it doesn’t feel weird?

The online space offers us a huge pool of people who might be interested in our products. But it can sometimes feel like we’re just walking into a big crowded room alone, and announcing, “Hey everyone! I’ve got this thing–anyone want it?” However, there are ways to connect with the right people, start a conversation, and make offers online that don’t end a relationship. How to Initiate (and Continue) the Conversation One of the challenges with making sales offers online is that information moves so quickly, and your potential clients may not have seen an offer that would be perfect for them. You may feel like you don’t want to bother people or be pushy, but the truth is, they probably just haven’t seen your email newsletter, blog post, or Facebook ad about your product. You don’t have to blast it everywhere, but many of you are actually hiding it! Since your potential client may not see everything that you post or share, you might need to initiate conversations directly. There are lots of natural, friendly ways you can reach out to connect. For example, you could reach out to someone whose business you love by simply saying, “Hey, I saw your business online, and it really looked interesting. I’d love to have a coffee chat with you.” Another way to connect with your ideal customer is to create a poll about your topic in a Facebook group and then reach out to the people who engaged with it to ask additional questions… which may lead to making an offer. If you have specific people in mind for one of your offers, remember that they may not have seen it yet. What if, in addition to throwing out an offer out into the Internet, you reached out to tap specific people on the shoulder so they know about it? Here’s an example of what you can say: “Hey, I have this new thing [service, program, offer]. It has to do with A, B, and C. I’d love to tell you about it. Do you know anyone who might be a good fit for that?” They might say a few things:

  • Yes, I’m interested in it!
  • Yes, my friend Suzanne might be a great fit.
  • No, I don’t.

No matter what their response is, make sure you continue the conversation. I’m encouraging real friendship here. Seek the genuine connection, and then push yourself to make that offer. They may not need your product or service now, but they might in the future. And even if they don’t, you’ll still have a new business friend! I’ve met many of you online and later in person, and it feels like we’ve always been friends. Twenty years ago, that would have been crazy (and maybe a little creepy). But I really want you to look at the Internet and see how you can find people that you like, connect with them personally, and through a natural series of events, let them know that you have offers. Don’t be afraid to tap your potential client on the shoulder and make that offer. If you have any questions about the process of making friends and offers online, feel free to ask away! Comment below, or head on over to my Facebook group, where we dive deeper into these types of situations every week. If you’re out there doing business online and looking for ways to connect to people genuinely, we should talk.