When the time is right…
After a period of time, building your relationship in this way, sharing information, commenting upon their posts, inviting them to engage on your posts, etc. in all likelihood you’ll get a feeling that they are willing to engage at a deeper level.
The approach you take here can determine how successful you are and again the risk of being too direct can easily turn people off.
The ideal situation is that your ideal client/ employer asks you to meet with them.
So how can we manufacture a situation where this happens?
The best way to control a discussion is to ask questions.
By asking questions, you are directing the discussion to focus on the subject of your choice. Equally, you are providing the person with the opportunity to share their views before you take back control by asking a supplementary question.
If you have adopted this approach in your engagements to date, your ideal client/ employer will feel relaxed in your company. By the way, the best way of doing this is, when you have shared some materials or point of view, ask what they think or whether they have anything to add.
As you get deeper into a topic, there will come a point where it is logical to take the discussion to the next level, either a meeting or telephone call.
As you approach this point, within your discussion, bring out examples of when you have engaged with other people in a similar field and drop in something like “interestingly when I sat down with XYZ of ABC company, we were able to dig much deeper in this topic and identified….”
In this way, you are not asking to meet, but you are indicating that there will be benefit to them of sitting down with you and discussing things further.
This approach works in many instances but like everything, it is not 100% guaranteed to work.
If you are dropping hints that are not being taken up, whilst the engagement levels are increasing, don’t shy away from ultimately asking for a meeting.
When you do, I’d strongly recommend that you position the extra value that they will get from meeting with you – answer the WIIFM question (What’s in it for me).
The other point to note is to be persistent – recent research highlights that it can take 7/ 8 attempts to engage with people before they respond. If you are only attempting to engage with two or three interactions, think about the volume of potential opportunities you are missing by giving up on them.