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3 Proven Ways to Convert Strangers into Friends – Matt Blank

Awkward Networker Guest Blog

“Congratulations, we’ve decided to award you our business.  The team and I look forward to working with you and building a long term relationship.  I’m glad I met you at the chamber event this year.”

Ah, the beautiful words anyone with sales responsibilities wants to hear.  You won the work because you put forth the perfect effort in the follow up #5, pitch, message, confirmation, follow up #4, research, follow up #3, meeting #2, follow up #2, meeting #1, follow up #1, initial reach out, and networking introduction.  You’ve successfully converted a stranger, into a friend, into a client.  If only it was that easy.

You decide to go to an event because a friend invited you.  Your friend (aka your network) thought you’d enjoy the event and could potentially meet someone worthwhile.  You’re up-to-date with Awkward Networker’s tips on the before (Preparation), the during (Bringing the Fireworks), and the after (Nailing the Follow Up).  Now you’re looking for that extra mile to really make an impact and convert your new friends into clients.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

Whether you’re in the finance industry, the healthcare industry, or any industry in between… you’re in the feeling industry.  The more you make people feel something, the more you will convert them from strangers into friends.  From beginning to end your goal is to evoke an emotion in them so that they remember you.

Here are my guest blog top 3 ways to convert a stranger into a client by evoking an emotion and creating a feeling, so that they will never forget you.


When you meet someone new, treat them as if they are a long lost dear friend that you haven’t seen in ages.  They are the most important person in the room.  Experts say don’t forget to smile and make eye contact.  I say act like you have not seen this person in years.  At the moment of your greeting, the world is at a standstill, and this individual is the only thing that is important to you.  People like to feel important; and when you treat them as if they are the only person in the room, they will remember that feeling, and want more.


If you’ve moved into the Advanced stage of your networking, you’ve mastered the art of introducing your potential new friend to other potential new friends.  People like to feel like they are part of something bigger.  In the popular quote, “It takes a village”, people can achieve incredible things when they work together.  Your job is to bring them together.  By making sure that you introduce your new friend to anyone that comes within 10 feet of you, you will establish yourself as the connector in the room who wants to make sure everyone FEELS part of the event.  Even though you are a guest, by you taking ownership, acting as the ambassador or host, you position yourself into a connector role that no one forgets.  You will multiply your friends by consistently introducing people to one another.  (I will go deeper into this art in the podcast)

Creative Follow-Up

As efficient as email is, it lacks the emotion that you (the sender) intends to give to the receiver.  My typical morning of email checking consists of, “delete, delete, delete, read quickly, delete, respond, archive, respond, delete” and so on.  If your all-important message is mixed in with newsletters, coupons, and internal emails, you’re not doing your job of creating a feeling in your new friend.  You’ve worked so hard to get your new friend to like you at the event and you lost the loving feeling in typing away like everyone else.  Take the time to go the extra mile.  Don’t worry, there’s no traffic.  Hand write a letter to your new friend.  Include something you spoke of like their favorite hobby or vacation spot.  If your new friend is an avid Nolan Ryan fan, include a few Upper Decks and Topps cards from the 90’s.  If your new friend is going to Italy in the summer, send him a pre-trip postcard.  Whatever you do, show your new friend you listened, you care, and you intend to stand out from the noise.  Nothing will please them more when they open that card at their desk and connect you to something that’s important to them.

When pricing is a factor, people buy from who they like.  When pricing isn’t a factor people still buy from who they like.  We associate the feeling of “like” with positive memories.  If you challenge yourself to create likable memories in your network, you will absolutely experience the first part of converting new business.

Who is Matt Blank?

Matt Blank
Matt Blank

Matt Blank is the Business Development Manager for Friedman LLP, the 41stlargest accounting firm in the country.  Matt focuses on growing new relationships with clients and strategic partners, as well as serving as an internal coach for the firm.  Matt’s passion of teaching allows him to help empower Partners, Directors, and Managers to achieve their goals through business development training.  Matt specializes in the art of soft skills training, and the science of strategic business development planning. Matt serves on several philanthropic committees including the Sponsor chair for the 2nd Annual Veteran’s Parade of Philadelphia, Chair of the Young Leaders event within Cradles 2 Crayons, and is the President of YB Connected.  (Videos here and here).   Matt lives with his wife Kristin and 2 year old daughter Samantha in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.  Matt has two dogs, loves any type of competition, a stiff drink, and a bold cigar.

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