Your friends have been with you through thick and thin. Whether you’ve known them since childhood or more recently, you’ll do just about anything for each other. However, it’s considered taboo in the professional world to mix your personal life and your work life. Is that fair or even true?
Your friend might have connections you don’t, especially if they work for a different employer. This provides a fresh networking opportunity that might land you a new client. However, the way you approach this situation is tricky. Come on too strong, and you might sound disingenuous. Worse, you might lose a friend if you try too hard to forge a business relationship with their company. Let’s talk strategy.
When you are trying to build a bridge between your friend and their employer, the best tactic is honesty. Don’t feign ignorance about your intentions. Your friend will catch on to your motives and feel used.
Ask questions about your friend’s employer. Explain your role as an insurance agent and inquire if their boss would be interested in becoming a client. If that’s too forward, try asking your friend to be a liaison between you and their employer. You don’t have to be talking in person. An email to your friend or even a LinkedIn connection request could be enough to get the ball rolling. No matter which you choose to communicate with your friend, remember to be honest with your goals.
Depending on your friend’s role within their company, speaking directly to their boss could be challenging. Not only that, you’re asking to vouch for your professional services, something they may not have any reason to do. Be sure to take the burden off your friend by providing an email that they could forward to the company owner or ask if there’s a situation where you might meet the owner, like at a company happy hour.
Don’t give your friend an ultimatum, deadlines, or any other pressure. Any request you make of your friend is for YOU. They are not obligated to oblige just because you are friends, and one potential client should not be a reason to lose your friendship. If you put in the effort, to be honest and do most of the legwork, your friend will feel more inclined to help you out.
Your friend might be the key to a new client, but they could also be a key to a new friend! Start slow. Consider setting up a networking mixer event and inviting friends that could bring other friends.
An out-of-the-office get-together is an ideal situation because it gives everyone a reason to attend, it does not hide intentions, and it can spark conversations that lead to a good connection. It also lets your friend feel less cornered! Blurring the lines between your personal life and professional life isn’t all bad.
Please don’t feel like a lousy friend for networking. If your friend has the same opportunity, you should do the same! At Normandy Insurance, we value all of our relationships between our agents and clients. Check out the rest of our website for more information on coverage and job openings!