When I ask sellers in my seminars with a little more persistence, it turns out that most of them keep talking to known customers or even to colleagues instead of approaching new contacts. That is definitely a wasted opportunity. It’s better to get in contact with people you do not know already and start a systematic conversation to get to know each other.
The aim is not to sell something but to start a conversation that you can follow up on later. In five to ten minutes you can achieve a lot.
Imagine an event on which an expert held a talk on one of “your topics”. While having some drinks afterwards you get your chance. Proceed in four steps:
- Get in contact: stand next to a guest that stands alone or isn’t in a conversation at the moment. Ask for example: How did you like the talk? What was most interesting for you?
- Find out the potential: Check who you are talking to and if a sales conversation at a later point is worth it. You could ask: What connection to the topic do you have? This way you can find out what your conversational partner does jobwise. If they are interesting, talk shop for a moment. Let the other person talk a lot.
- End the conversation with style: When you agreed on the next contact, you try to get out of the conversation in order to talk to more people. To avoid giving the client the impression that you just took advantage of him, continue with small talk. Questions are useful again, for example: Which topics would you like to hear in the future? What are you looking forward to in the next speech?
- Suggest an appointment: If your conversational partner jumps on the topic, become more direct. For example ask: When can we meet to talk about that with more time?
During this entire conversation it’s important that you do not proceed too fast. Indeed, customers don’t like it if they are “hit on” at an event. Therefore, spice the entire conversation with “loops of small talk”. Come back to something your conversational partner told you at the beginning. Not being too straightforward helps you to reach your goal better.
You will find more tips and questions for event-communication and other typical sales situations in my book “Selling and Persuading with Questions” (sorry, it’s only published in German at present).