Experience and observation teaches almost all you need to know in terms of what not to do in regards to meeting someone for the first time. The moment you become irritated or downright angry is the perfect time to make a mental note to not do the same. And if you are into empowering your audiences by offering your best insights, then turn these events into a positive message for your communities at large.
The worst communication style is to make assumptions about those you meet. Most often the assumptions are completely incorrect. A far better approach for meeting online, at networking events, or during professional appointments is to ask questions upfront. The sales phrase is “lead with questions.”
An initial conversation should be focused on getting to know one another rather than making a quick sale. In the end, if you get to know one another well, the sale will be larger than originally anticipated, and then the relationship deepens should the client be very happy with all that you provide.
Rules for Questions:
1. After each response to a question, ask for clarification if you don’t understand the answer. This develops trust and credibility.
2. Continue the conversation based upon the answer should you have insight to add.
3. When appropriate ask another question and repeat the above.
Networking that Builds Rapport:
- What caught your attention to attend this event today?
- What type of business are you in?
- Who is your core clientele?
Structured Meetings to Get Familiar
- Are you active on social media?
- Which social media sites are your favorites?
- If you could provide one tip for effective social media usage what would it be?
- How did you choose your career?
- Which areas of work do you enjoy the most?
- What is your grandest vision to yet be achieved?
- Do you have a team helping you?
- If you could improve one thing, what would it be?
- What are your goals for year-end?
- Are you contemplating specific new goals for next year?
- Are you seeking help in some way to achieve those new goals?
- Do you have any special holiday or vacation plans?
Scheduling Meetings via Online
- Please provide a choice of dates and times for us to meet and I will confirm one.
- How do you prefer we communicate e.g phone, Skype or meet for coffee?
You wouldn’t necessarily ask all of these questions of one new contact. But go with the flow of conversation and remember to inquire of both their business and personal goals to get to know them better.
The entire idea is to not sell on the first meeting, but to recognize whether there is a good qualified match for doing business. Part two of asking these questions is to determine whether you will enjoy working with the person. If not, do yourself a favor and walk away.
Thoughtful questions and listening to fully comprehend will definite your personal brand as a thought leader. It is the sound relationships that produce a returning and referring clientele known as the Smooth Sale!