Picture this scenario:

A man walks into a cafe, and sees a woman sitting at a table by herself, reading a book. He walks over to her and asks her about the book, saying that he recognizes the author but hasn’t seen this one before. She tells him about the book a little bit and he asks her a few more questions about herself – they have a nice chat for a few minutes. The conversation is about ready to shut down, and then the man says “Hey, would you be my girlfriend?”….

How this could go instead:
The conversation is about ready to shut down, and then the man says, “Hey, I’ve enjoyed chatting and I’d like to continue the conversation. If you’re interested, could I buy you a coffee soon?” Let’s say the woman says yes, so they exchange contact information. After he leaves the cafe, the man shoots a text to the woman that simply has his name and says “it was great to meet you! Looking forward to getting to chat! How about you snag a look at your calendar and I’ll call in a couple days?” Then the man sends connection requests on facebook, LinkedIn, follows her on Twitter, likes her Instagram posts, and tags her in his next four status updates…

How this could go instead:
A couple days pass and the man calls, he asks how she’s doing and they chat for a second. He asks her if she knows a day that she’s free and let’s say she tells him a day. He says great and that he’s looking forward to it. Then the day happens, they meet and he buys coffee, they enjoy conversation with each other and they both seem pretty compatible. So, the night is winding down and the man says “This was great and I really enjoy spending time with you. There’s a wine and art class happening at 501 Studio this Friday night, would you be interested in coming with me?”

How likely do you think the woman is to say yes?

The whole point is that business is relationships, and relationships are built. Just like these scenarios, there’s a moment when you’ll have a chance to ask for the next level. You can either jump to the big sale, or you can request that you take another step in building that relationship of attention and trust.

Every relationship is different, and sometimes you’ll skip a few steps, while other times you’ll get kicked off the path entirely; however, in general, relationships are built. One small “sale” at a time, until it feels silly not to progress forward – and that’s the big sale.

You can see this on my LinkedIn if you’d like