Sometimes, the first few conversations with a potential client, affiliate or business contact can feel awkward. You want to create a mutually supportive relationship, but how do you lay the foundation without coming across as selfish or salesy?
Here are three keys you can use to make your business conversations more relaxed, less awkward, and more fun, and to build relationships that support your mutual success:
Key #1: Relationship First, Goals Second
If you go into a conversation with your mind set on getting the other person to do something, they'll sense that you have an agenda that's more important to you than the relationship. As a result, they'll probably feel like you're trying to push or manipulate them, even if that isn’t your intention.
When you’re starting a relationship, it’s important to prioritize building rapport and laying a foundation over achieving a goal. Don’t enter the conversation with the goal of getting them to enrol as a client, sign up as an affiliate, or otherwise take action right away.
Instead, focus on getting to know them, and on making them feel seen, heard and cared about.
During the conversation, if you have a good connection and it seems like they or their community need your service, you can bring up the topic of working together. But if they don’t yet seem to be open and relaxed around you, don’t rush things.
Instead, at the end of the conversation, ask when you can talk to them again. If you can get a time and date booked, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll be able to stay in contact and keep building the relationship, instead of simply falling out of touch and never talking again.
Key #2: Ask The Right Questions
When you’re getting to know someone, asking questions is one of the best ways to keep the conversation flowing. People usually love to talk about themselves, and they love to feel seen, heard and understood.
But while you’re asking questions, it’s important to avoid making them feel interrogated. You don’t want to leave them wondering “why are you asking me this?”
So when you’re choosing which questions to ask, here are three criteria to keep in mind:
- Does this question relate to the topic we were talking about
- Does it flow naturally from the existing conversation, or would it come out of the left field and be totally off-topic?
- Does it help me to learn about their goals, desires, struggles, fears, and whether or not they or their community need my services?
By asking questions that fit these criteria, you’ll keep the conversation flowing naturally, and discover more quickly whether or not you and the other person are a good fit.
Key #3: Don't Take It Personally
Sometimes, people get busy, and they don’t want to add more conversations to their plate.
Sometimes, they’re in the middle of dealing with something difficult in their lives, or the two of you simply aren’t a good fit.
Sometimes, a conversation gone wrong is an opportunity to improve, grow, and become a better business owner.
Whatever the reason things went awry, it’s important to remember that an awkward conversation or a setback in your relationship isn’t a reflection on you as a person, or on your value as an entrepreneur.
So when people don’t call you back or seem interested in continuing the relationship, do your best not to take it personally. Instead, look for areas where you can improve, and be grateful when a person who isn’t a good fit ends the relationship early.
Do you have any tips for making business conversations easier, more successful, and more fun?
I look forward to reading your comments.
About the author:
Stephanie O’Brien is a copywriter and business coach. She specializes in helping coaches to create high-selling group programs and fill them with clients, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more free time.
To learn more about her, and to discover how to attract more clients and change more lives, visit www.coachclientconnection.com.