This post was authored by Patrick Hoeppner, Dunham's Marketing Communications Associate. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858)964-0500. Hold us to a higher standard.

Dating is a tricky business. One could almost call it the original problem. The thing is, it can be made much better by keeping confidence, time, and place in mind. Asking for business can work in the same way. It is tricky to bring up the subject, but if it is delivered well, the best case scenario is a positive outcome, and the worst-case scenario is a polite rejection and perhaps even a referral. Not that referrals happen very often in dating, but it works to mention them here.

So here’s the situation:

You’ve been connecting with someone in your social orbit and building a stronger and stronger personal connection. Things have been going great on an interpersonal level – but what could happen when you try to upgrade the personal relationship to a business relationship? You really enjoy this person and believe they would be a great client, but you don’t want to drop the ball so badly that your suggestion spoils your personal relationship as well. The solution comes in timing, place, and confidence. If you have been getting along with someone well enough to where you believe that it would be reasonable to ask for their business, it shouldn’t be much of a problem if it is asked directly and in the right time and place. A cocktail party will probably not present the best environment for this conversation, as it is essential to keep the surroundings in mind while asking for business. A personal event with fewer people around may work best, or a meeting with just the two of you. Ideally, factors that could complicate the decision-making process should be at a minimum. The best possible situation is a yes – the worst possible situation is a no. Ideally, there will be a situation that allows for both of the parties to walk away with a positive or neutral outcome – such as a refusal and a referral. In a best-case scenario, though, the answer is a yes.

Asking someone for business is a daunting proposition, made more daunting by the closeness of the relationship. A slip-up might feel like the relationship has been harmed. But for the most part, this isn’t always the case. It is easier to ask and fail than deal with the pain of not asking at all. It is almost more unfortunate to recall things that could have worked out and didn’t than recalling things that were never tried. But confidence plus tact when it comes to situation works volumes. It is essential that people in all walks of life and business master the art of situational selling. In the right scenario, with the right attitude, and the right proposal in mind, it can be an exhilarating and rewarding task to ask for business. It just starts with the conviction to ask. Without that conviction, there can be no date, and no business. With conviction, the potential is there to start a rewarding and mutually profitable relationship. With the confidence and tact, finding new business can be a breeze. No matter the outcome of each interaction, the result will just be motivation for the next try. One of the fun parts of sales is that it’s never over. You’re never done selling, and you’ll never stop trying for that perfect prospect, no matter where the two may meet.