The Friend Zone

It happened again.

It happened again. I got lazy, didn’t pay attention to the details, and found myself in the “friend zone.” This week’s tip is about something small and easy to overlook, though it makes a big difference. It’s the “call to action.”

Recently I got a call from a prospective client looking for training. The person wasn’t the ultimate decision maker but said all the right things, even asking me to reserve a day on my calendar for the training.  I was lazy and so I didn’t try too hard to engage with power (that’s another issue all together). After our call I sent over the outline of the program that included the pricing. Continuing with my laziness, I didn’t get a defined next step or schedule a follow up call. I let this one go with the old “follow up with me next week” line that I’ve heard way too many times.

Eventually I got a voicemail saying that the decision maker was “definitely interested” in doing the training, but didn’t want to release budget just yet. “It’s not if but when at this point.” Sure, I’ve heard that one before…

I then sent over this e-mail: “I got your voice mail yesterday. Let me know when you think [decision maker’s name] will be open to releasing the budget for the training and when we should schedule our next call to follow up and maintain the momentum. Thanks.”

Notice anything wrong with my response? Did I ask for anything specific? Was there even a question in that response? Nope. “Let me know…” is about as passive as it gets. Ao can you guess what I got for a response? “Sounds good. Thank you, John!” And do you know where that leaves me? Nowhere. I’m now in the “friend zone.” Brutal.

If I had made a simple adjustment to my call to action and had said something like, “When are you free for a brief call to discuss?” I would have increased my chances of having a conversation and reduced the chances of being caught in the friend zone.

A few takeaways on this one:

  1. Don’t be lazy
  2. Get to power
  3. Always get a defined next step
  4. Make sure your call to action is direct and asks for something specific
  5. Avoid the friend zone at all costs

Make it happen!