This is a guest post by the incredible business & sales coach Heidi Taylor. This essay originally appeared as part of the Redefining Community project which ran throughout April 2019. You can find out more about the project and download the ebook here.
The whole concept of building a community feels daunting if I am totally honest.
Knowing myself, that my sweet spot is one-on-one connections, I knew for the sake of my business and sanity, that I had to find a way to make this work for me. I took a long hard look at my top five strengths and noticed that 80% of my strengths lie in relationship building, but the one strength that stood out to me when I considered how to create connections and community is a strength called ‘Individualization’. This core strength means that I am skilled at noticing unique characteristics in others and positioning them to do what they do best. With this deeper understanding of myself, it was time to apply it to creating community.
After a few attempts at joining online communities and feeling frustrated by the endless stream of conversation threads whizzing-on without a chance to ‘stand out’ or connect, I knew there had to be another way for someone like me. As an introvert who naturally rebels against the norm, I had to find my own way.
After many failed attempts and wonky connections later…
The power of ‘little yeses’ was born.
This is a deceptively simple process, but I want you to consider that outreach, isn’t about numbers as much as it is about discerning a right fit. If you are thinking “I’ll figure that out as I go”, you might want to consider adopting my practice of ‘little yeses’ because it can and will save you time, some heartache, and maybe even a headache or two.
Inviting someone new into my world
Inviting someone new into my world starts with a direct message on Instagram or an email. I like to tell them what I’ve noticed about them, or something about their way of doing or way of being. I share my genuine appreciation about how they are showing up in the world. People like to know they matter, so I go out of my way to say; “Here is what I’ve noticed about you and here why I think we’d have a great conversation…”
In this busy, fast-paced, shout-it-out loud social media era we are living in, I have found that personalized outreach is still a powerful form of connection.
Reaching out isn’t about writing a script
Reaching out isn’t about writing a script that works every time you use it. It’s important to customize each outreach to the person you want to connect with. A new connection will thrive in a space of deep understanding. Knowing something specific or unique about the person and the shared space of deep understanding between you goes a very long way to building trust with your new connection. The byproduct of connecting through outreach is that it connects you to a whole new community of people via a deeper connection with one person. But I am getting way ahead of myself here...
This is where the ‘little yeses’ come in.
After I’ve taken the time to reach out through a direct message or an email, I watch and listen.
This is one of the most important parts of the process. Listening to and watching for how the response comes back is critical to the success of the connection. Is it a one-word answer or a joyful acceptance? Or is it a ‘ghosting’, or, my least favorite option, a wonky response that just doesn’t sit right? Tuning in and noticing what your gut or body response is giving you and honouring that feeling is everything. The point isn’t to get a ‘little yes’ from everyone I reach out to. The point is to discern if I am on the same page as this person. Perhaps we are not at all, or, we may be somewhere in between.
This is where I slow down and gather some of the most important information I can about my new connection. How a new connection responds to me tells me pretty much everything I need to know about how the relationship will go. While it may be a bold statement, in my experience, it has held true.
I place my attention on the response I receive
Of course, there may be a few exceptions to the rule, but I prefer to place my attention on the response I receive. If I get a response that the person is also interested in engaging in a conversation, that is a ‘little yes’ and more importantly, permission to proceed. Permission is the start of a trusting relationship and respectful people will ask for and wait for permission to proceed. Think about a time someone has rushed you, pushed passed your requests, or ignored your standard operating procedures. Did it end up going well? Likely not. This is why my love for ‘little yeses’ was born.
‘Little yeses’ can lead to a conversation, a connection, or a new opportunity. They can also lead to clients, customers, and sales. If you are wondering, this practice of looking for ‘little yeses’ can be used for a personal or a professional connection. We’ve all been in those situations where if left to chance, a professional connection can go sideways if it’s not guided with intention and discernment.
A powerful, and surprising, tool
Reaching out to make a deep and genuine connection is a powerful tool that introverted business owners are uniquely wired to do well. The results may just surprise you. For me, I know this to be true as the connection I made with Eli in September of last year is the reason I landed in this community project and ultimately in your inbox.
Heidi Taylor is what happens when a sales coach collides with a life coach. Her style is relational. Her system is proprietary. And her approach is a yin yang of both kind and direct. She has over ten years experience running businesses, both off and online.
Heidi is a Business Coach for Caring People. (Ya know, those on the opposite end of the sleazebag spectrum).
I help caring service-based business owners, to take your goals, your unique way of working, your desire, and not only establish that into a business model that works - but show you exactly how to sell it. We also trim away the excess in your processes and packages. Display your brilliance that is going unseen. Examine where and why you’re wilting. Add to your repertoire the direct, pointed skills of getting what you want and need to support your business, your work, and your creativity.
Follow along with Heidi’s Instagram Stories on Wednesdays where she reviews actual intake forms of online business owners so you can learn the art of asking better questions that convert to better clients and sales.