When networking you want others to feel good about themselves, and, to feel good about being in a conversation with us. We want to ask questions that make others feel good about us as people, even though we have just met and they hardly know us.
Here are our top 10 questions that are not sales oriented in any way. They are friendly and fun to answer and they will tell you something about the way a person thinks. In one conversation you will not use all these questions. We recommend knowing them well enough to ask the ones you feel are appropriate for the conversation and the time frame available at your networking function.
Here are the 10 questions:
1. How did you get your start in your business?
- People like to share their story
2. What do you enjoy the most about your profession?
- The people you want to associate with will love to answer this question
3. What separates you and your company from your competition?
- Gives them permission to brag
4. What advice would you give someone just starting in your business?
- Mentor question
5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
- What are your dreams question
6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?
- Mature business owner question
7. What do you see as coming trends in your business?
- Be a speculator question
8. Describe the funniest (or strangest) thing you’ve experienced in your business?
- War Stories question
9. What have you found to be the most effective ways to promote your business?
- All small businesses market in some way
10. What one sentence would you like people to use when describing how you do business?
- Customer service question
These are questions people will enjoy answering. You are not being nosy. Again, don’t plan to ask all 10 questions in one meeting. This is not an interrogation, these questions are meant to establish initial rapport. When someone answers a question use genuine curiosity, try saying “tell me more”. Learn as much as you can about your fellow business owners in your community, there may be opportunities to cross promote your business or create a small business breakfast group. The more people you know, the more people who know you, the larger your practice will become.
What is one networking event you could attend in your community?