Everyone knows that networking and building relationships with new clients or business contacts is essential for business success.
For some, meeting new people and sparking interesting conversations comes as second nature. But what if it isn’t your forte? What if you struggle to think of something to say or even how to begin the conversation?
What can you say that is more imaginative than talking about the weather or what their journey was like, and which allows you to get to the root of what business relationship you could enjoy?
I work with clients to develop stress-free networking strategies and have the confidence to hold and enjoy rapport-building conversations. I have found that engaging conversational questions can be categorised by three simple words, “past – present – future”.
Depending on the situation, you will find that you can ask a number of different questions for each of these areas, from the basic to the complex. Here are some examples that you may want to try:
‘How long has your organisation been going/how long have you worked there?’
‘What have you enjoyed/loved about your experience with the organisation in the last 5/10 years.’
‘What challenges is your organisation currently facing?’ or
‘How is your sector/organisation coping with ……..?’
‘Does the – insert the topical issues of the day – affect your organisation/you?’
‘Where do you see your organisation/yourself in 12 months/3 years?’
‘What do you think is going to be the biggest opportunity/threat for you and/or your organisation in your type of services going forward.’
‘Is the – insert the topical issues of the day – going to change your business in the future?
And you can also share your own experiences – how you and/or your organisation have fared in the past, sees its current challenges/opportunities, and where it/you are aiming to be in the future.
Why does this work well?
Having the past-present-future formula in mind can inspire great questions that get the conversation flowing. Whilst you don’t want to use so many questions that it sounds like an inquisition, a few open questions are really all you need to get a discussion going.
Let them open up and really listen to the answers and focus on how they respond. Each answer will not only feed the conversation but may also contain valuable information for building your relationships with the right people.
Are you ready to take your networking skills to the next level?
If so, I have three opportunities to improve your communication skills and self-confidence for meeting and connecting with potential clients:
1. I offer a 1-1 coaching programme (3 sessions) to help you build your networking skills: to find the right groups AND develop your individual style that is authentic and engaging. To find out more or arrange a discussion to explore how we could work together, please get in touch. I am currently offering a complimentary Get More Clients Diagnostic and Planning sessions to those that book the Kick S.T.A.R.T Relationship Connector Coaching Package.
2. If you enjoy learning in a group environment, why not join my short Kick S.T.A.R.T. Relationship Connector workshop? This interactive event helps you to learn advanced relationship-building skills and boost your confidence… all over lunch! To find out more about how this could benefit you and your team, get in touch.
3. If you want to learn all the inside secrets to powerful and successful networking then my full-day Kick S.T.A.R.T. Relationship Connector workshop is for you. This event forms one of the days on the Business Brilliance Blueprint Programme designed for partners and legal business owners who want to accelerate their mastery of business skills. Take this course as one-off training day or join the full programme. Visit the website for more details.