No matter whether you are at a cocktail party, conference, networking event or trade show, you always find yourself among a couple of new people. Most of the time, these people are the potential clients of your company with whom you are supposed to do business. To discuss crucial business related things or rather to strike a conversation, you need to break the awkward silence between you and the second party.
Some people find it quite difficult to start a conversation and get themselves stuck in a pool of questions like ‘What should I ask first?’, ‘Should I ask something personal?’ or ‘Should I behave in a super professional or more laid-back manner?’ while meeting a client for the very first time. If you too have faced such a situation or find it difficult to start a meeting, then we have brought some useful tips to help you here. Just read on and try the one that helps you to get going.
Start with a generic question
A generic question (not related to sales and business) is always good to start a talk. There is no particular criterion for such questions; it all depends on the situation and your surroundings. For example, if you have come to a new place for the first time, then you can ask anything related to that particular place and food like ‘what are the best restaurants here?’ or ‘do you know when the keynote will start?’ etc.
This small query is enough to break the ice between you and your potential partner.
Talk about the weather
The weather has always been the safest topic to talk about with a person you are meeting for the first time. And the best thing is all of us have something to say on it no matter whether it’s a pleasant, cold or sunny day. So, if you don’t find anything interesting to say, just mention the weather in your talk and remark it in the best way to exchange words with the new client.
Ask about the work
Just like weather, work is also a safe and good subject to talk on. People always like to talk about their job. So, take advantage of that and ask small questions related to their profession. And if you are not familiar with their job or company, then you can easily take the conversation ahead by asking further about it.
Say something about the venue
Unless you are in a generic hotel, you always have something to talk about the venue in your meeting. And if you are at a new place, you can express your first impression about the spot. Similarly, if your client has come to your city for the first time, then you can ask him/her whether he/she liked the venue or not.
If you have noticed something nice about them or are impressed by something the client or its company has done earlier, then don’t pass up the opportunity to praise them. For example, you can say something nice about their advertising campaigns or blog that they had posted earlier.
Compliment them on their dressing style
Who doesn’t loves to receive a nice compliment on their clothing? And if your client is a female, then nothing better than complimenting her for the outfit she’s wearing. When you say something nice about the clothes of someone, they not only feel comfortable, but also notice the attention that you are paying towards them. You never know at times, a few small lines like ‘I like the tie that you are wearing’ or ‘What a lovely necklace you have’ can work wonders in initiating a business relationship.
Offer small gifts
This is one of the reasons why some business representatives bring chocolate boxes, promotional pens and other small gifts to a trade show. People always love to receive free items unless it is not affecting their personal interest. Even if you are going to a meeting, you can take some small yet impressive things with you, such as a coffee mug or a bowl full of candies. No matter whether they accept the gift or not, your attempt has made an impression on them and you are ready to take this meeting ahead.
We hope the next time when you’ll go for a business event you will be more comfortable in initiating the conversation. We’re sure you’ll be a popular social butterfly in no time!