Have you ever found yourself in an awkward situation with a prospect, potential customer, or business builder… and you have no idea what to say?
Today I’m going to teach you one of my favorite skills… how to “acknowledge the awkward“.
Time after time, clients ask me, “How do I handle this awkward situation that has come up?” And I’ll say, “Tell me about the awkward situation…” So they tell me and usually, my response is, “Well, what if you just told them exactly that?”
Admitting, opening up, and acknowledging the awkwardness of a situation actually builds a lot more trust. So let’s talk about how to use this in some different scenarios that often come up with clients...
Example 1: Asking people you have known for years to buy your products. This is awkward, right? All of the sudden, you get uncomfortable and start acting like a weirdo. Guess what, it’s weird for them when you act like this too.
In this situation, just call out the awkwardness: “I’m going to show you a few kits/products Now, I tend to get a little bit uncomfortable with people I know, so if I start acting weird and unlike myself, will you cut me a break? Okay, thanks. I’m just going to do this exactly the same way I would do this with someone I don’t know. Is that cool?” I’m sure they’re going to say, “Don’t worry about it, you’re good!” Then you can actually serve them and it’ll work out the way it needs to.
Example 2: The hostess didn’t tell anyone you were coming to the party. This one cracked me up. One of my clients was copied on a party invitation and it said nothing about her coming! Obviously, she felt really nervous and uncomfortable. I recommended she just acknowledge the awkwardness and say, “Did you guys like how Nancy tricked you into attending a product party? I’ve got you now… just kidding! I had nothing to do with it; she figured you were the ones she wanted to invite, so she invited me as well. I’m gonna jam through the most popular products, if you would like to buy something, great. If not, no worries, you guys can hang out.” And my client let me know that this worked out great. Everyone laughed, they understood, and three out of four people bought!
Example 3: Following up with someone who said they were going to order but they haven’t. This one gets me because I get super anxious when a potential client says that they are ready to move forward with registering for a mastermind or signing a coaching contract and then they don’t do it in a timely matter. I want to follow up with them, but I don’t wanna be a stalker. Can you relate?
So I usually just make fun of myself a little bit and say, “Hey, sometimes I turn into a crazy salesperson and I don’t want to do that to you… So when can I expect your order? That way I won’t be worried about it and if anything goes awry. Then I know exactly when to follow up with you.” We’re just telling them the truth.
Example 4: You forgot to return a phone call, respond to a message, or you just didn’t follow up in a timely matter… If you just call them and say, “Hey, how’s it going?” They’re going to say, “What the heck? You haven’t called me in forever!” So what if you just said that? “Hey, I know I haven’t reached out to you in forever, and I’m trying to do a better job with consistently working with people. Do you have a couple of minutes to chat?” They will likely say, “No problem at all it’s totally fine, don’t worry about it, I’m busy too.”
This reminds me of one of my good friends, Tiffany. We don’t talk often, but when we do it’s always perfect. I’ll just text her and say “I’m the worst friend. I miss you, let’s hang out.” And it’s just acknowledging the awkwardness. “I have not been awesome, but I’m here now, and I care about you,” and it works in all areas of life to just acknowledge that awkward part of it.
So those are some sales situations… but you might be wondering how to apply this to your leadership role… One of the best ways to build trust is to admit the truth. A few examples would be:
- “I’m going to ask you some questions I’ve never asked before. If it’s a little clunky, will you give me some grace?” Or, “I’m going to teach you a technique and you’re the first person I’m teaching it to, so if it’s a little clunky, is that ok?”
- “I don’t know if this is the best way to do it. Can I share with you what I think and then you can give me feedback?” If you’re getting nervous that the idea that you have isn’t the best, what if you just admitted that? “I think this is a good idea, I’m not sure it’s the best idea. Let’s go over it and then you can tell me what you think and give me some feedback.” This builds so much more trust and credibility than pretending like you have the best idea ever and you’re sure it’s going to work.
- Maybe you’re asking someone to ask for referrals or invite someone to a recruiting conversation or something that they haven’t done before… you can simply say, “I think that this might be something that you might be a little bit uncomfortable with since you haven’t done it before. If we practice, would that be helpful?”
- If you were thinking of recruiting someone that you’ve known for a long time but never invited to learn about the business you could say, “I was thinking about you this morning (now it needs to be true, of course), and I realized I’m such a do-do head. Whatever you decide is ok with me, but I just feel really silly that I’ve never asked you before so do you mind if I ask you something?” They’ll say, “No, I don’t mind.” “Ok, well, would you like to learn how to earn money with blah blah blah company?” And you’ll get a response like, “Yeah, actually, I was just thinking about that,” or, “No, that’s not really for me, but I appreciate you asking,” or you’ll get, “Maybe.” And that honesty creates authenticity.
When we “acknowledge the awkward”, we give our team members the bravery to be awkward as well. When we show up as leaders as if we have everything all together, it sends a message to our team that they need to have everything together before they take action. I’m not implying to always talk about what a disaster everything is; that’s not helpful, but to just acknowledge the truth of situations is helpful.
I hope that this was helpful for you today! – Tasha
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