from Client Wisdom Blog published by MBT More Business Today LLC
Let’s talk business next time we meet. What is your reaction to that statement? How do you feel when a contact says it to you, and how do you feel when you plan to say the same to one of your contacts?
Even when it is a question, “Can we talk business next time we meet?”, some of my clients hate asking that question. It is too “salesy” for them. Some clients are more comfortable forming relationships with contacts by getting to know them on a personal level. Others are more comfortable talking exclusively about business when meeting with potential and current clients. And, for some, their clients are their friends. They talk about everything.
All of these reactions are valid. Each client who engages me is an individual. Part of the coaching I do is to support clients in finding their authentic voice to use when developing business contacts and when developing their teams.
The key to having a business conversation and how to phrase the question is the personality of client or contact. Just as many of my clients have different reactions to “Let’s talk about business next time”, so do their potential clients.
As MBT clients plan for meetings with their contacts, we prepare by:
- Talking about the strength of the relationship. Is it solid or developing?
- Discussing what they learned about this person and their company? Are they open or conservative in divulging information.
- Most people love to talk about their jobs. Determining what approach is best when asking this person about their business.
- Then, we often role play the conversation. This gives the clients an opportunity to try out different questions to find the ones that are most comfortable and authentic to them.
- Finally, we develop a goal for the meeting. This is helpful in determining whether the meeting was a success. A goal could be as simple as learning more about the person’s business.
So the next time you want to talk about business with someone, think about:
- How has someone asked you to talk about business? It could be an insurance person or your bank.
- What did you like and dislike about those questions?
- When are you most comfortable talking about business?
- When does your contact seem to be most comfortable talking about business?
- Then, decide how you will proceed.
Most importantly, do proceed! The only way to succeed is to take the risk and ask a question. If you do not ask, game over.