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When networking ask them questions

To be a great networker you need to be able to ask questions that quickly help you to understand how you can help the person you are talking to.  People love talking about themselves and your job is to let them.

"We learn nothing when we talk, only when we listen"

Ten questions to get the conversation going.

  1. “How did you learn of this meeting?” (If it’s not obvious). "What are you hoping to get out of this event today?"

  2. “’Have you been here before?” If yes, “What brought you back?”

  3. Try to find out what challenges they are facing at the moment. This will help you understand who in your network you might be able to connect them to. Doing this can quickly develop into a powerful referral stream.

  4. “Do you know a lot of people here?”

  5. “What kind of work do you do?” (again, if it’s not obvious)."How long have you been in business/doing this job?"   "How did you get started in (business sector)?"

  6. “What company do you work for?” “How long have you been working there?”

  7. “Who are your main customers? What is your target market?”

  8. “How do you most successfully market your business?”

  9. “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

These questions allow you to dig a bit deeper.

  1. How did you get your start in the business?

    People like to be the movie of the week in someone else's mind. Let them share their story with you (while you actively listen).

  2. What do you enjoy most about your profession?

    This question elicits a positive response and good feelings.

  3. What separates you and your company from the competition?

    This question gives them permission to brag about their business.

  4. What advice would you give someone just starting in your business?

    This question makes them feel superior and allows them to do some mentoring.

  5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

    This question allows your friend to fantasize and they will be thankful that you cared enough to ask.

  6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

    Asking people who are a little bit more mature in years can be perfect because it allows them to reminisce about the good old days.

  7. What do you see as the coming trends in the your business?

    This is a speculation question and positions them as an expert in their industry which make them feel important.

  8. What was the strangest or funniest incident you've experienced in your business?

    People love to share this sort of story.

  9. What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?

    This question again elicits a positive reaction and also gives you an opportunity to see how they think.

  10. What one sentence would you like people to use to describe the way you do business?

    You are allowing them to give themselves a compliment.  Who doesn't like compliments?

    You'll notice something in common with each of these questions.  They all centre around the person you are talking to and allows them an opportunity to talk about themselves.

    Don't necessarily ask your referral partners each of these questions, but do have a few ready when you talk to them.

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