I have heard this question more times than I can count.
Here is a perspective for you: Does a doctor make friends with you before being your doctor? Does an attorney? Does a salesman have to be your friend before you can buy from them? Do you have to be friends with the restaurant owner before you go there for a meal? How about your butcher, baker, coffee shop owner, grocer?
From this perspective, the question is absurd. Sure, it’s nice to be friends with the people you do business with in your life. But you do not hire an attorney because he is your friend. You hire him/her because they are the right person to accomplish the task. You hire them because of their competence and credibility in the field. It’s likely there will be a friendly relationship between the two of you, but it is not required that you be friends.
making friends with someone for the purpose of approaching them about your opportunity is a deceptive practice
In fact, making friends with someone for the purpose of approaching them about your opportunity is a deceptive practice and leads to someone being negative about the networking industry. Many times over the years I have heard the story from someone who still remembers meeting someone and that person pretending to take a sincere interest in them (it happens a lot with couples too) and after the third or fourth interaction, they were invited to dinner and at that point the pretend friend sprung their opportunity on them. Didn’t ask them if they would like to know about it. Just did it.
This is manipulation. This is dishonest. This is inauthentic. Do you think I might have an issue with it?
I realize when you first meet someone that you think is interesting or that might be a good prospect, you want to invite them to learn about your opportunity. This is smart. But you need to be honest and direct. When you first meet that person, there is a reason you think they might be a good prospect. That reason is all you need to make a comfortable initial approach that makes the other person feel good about being approached. It’s easy to truthfully tell someone you like a quality about them and that people with that quality do well in your business. To go the back-door route and pretend to want to be their friend and develop the relationship, all the while waiting for the right moment to approach them, is dishonest. They are more likely to see through this, as they are to become your business partner. And, they will never forget the manipulation and will speak poorly about you and your opportunity forever to anyone who wants to hear. As I said earlier…I have heard this over and over from people who are not in the industry because they were treated this way.
It’s easy to truthfully tell someone you like a quality about them and that people with that quality do well in your business.
When you meet someone, you either feel a connection to them or you don’t. Connections and commonalities are starting points for friendships. Make a friend because you want to make a friend. Approach someone about your opportunity because they are someone you want to approach. Keep it that simple and pure.
I am just brushing the surface of this topic because conceptually it is important. Now you know my core position. I can give many examples of the “how” if you would like and I am happy to share my perspective on a given situation. If this is a topic you have further questions on email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer your question by blogging about it soon.