Two monkeys sitting, appearing to talk to each other

Customers are people you don’t know yet.  In order to start that association, a remark must be made.  If you make a comment that makes someone feel better at that moment, you create a connection that may turn into more.  How do you connect with others? By learning some conversation starters, you can practice with those first few words that get a discussion started.

Get Their Attention

We don’t just start talking without getting someone else’s attention.  If we do, nine times out of ten, they won’t even know you are talking to them!  First take a casual look and see if you can encourage the person to look your way.  How do you do that? The best way is to turn toward them with your face in a smile. As soon as your eyes connect, get ready to say something.  Then you must figure out what to say.

Ask a Question

Many will start a conversation with the benign question that usually prompts a vague response:  How are you? Too often people won’t even tell you how they REALLY feel – and maybe that’s better, since you really don’t want to hear someone’s list of ailments!  It’s better to ask a question that will prompt a volley back and forth of words. Think of some questions that you might enjoy answering:

  • What do you think about this [cool/warm/wet] weather we’ve been having?
  • Have you been here long?
  • What do you do for a living?  Or even:
  • What do you enjoy doing on the weekends?  

Whenever you can, exude friendliness and a sense of fun – let them know that you are interested in their answers.  Ease into the questions, but just remember: people like to talk about themselves.

Give a Compliment

Be sure to notice the details of the person.  Is there something that caught your eyes? People usually appreciate an affirmation, and there’s always some compliment you can give someone.  Even when the person argues with the compliment, rebound with a little more so that the compliment is heard and sinks in. Think of some of the compliments you may enjoy hearing:

  • That’s a great shirt – did you find it here in town?
  • Your hair sure is thick – where do you get it styled?  
  • Nice sweater – it brings out the blue in your eyes.
  • You’ve got a beautiful smile.  You know what they say about increasing your face value.

Be sincere, don’t be overbearing, and people will remember you because of what you said. Often it’s the compliment that you gave that people will associate with you, so give them freely.

Create a Need

Once you’ve chatted for a bit, think of how you can bridge the conversation to your service or product.  Based on what you’ve learned about the person, come up with a way that you can help potential customers better their lives.  Ask it as a question:

  • Would XXX take care of that for you?  If so, I’d be glad to show you how it works or if you’d like, you can give it a try.  
  • Have you ever tried XXX?  I’ve found that really works for me. Do you think that would make a difference?
  • Do you need to have XXX?  Folks I know could help you with that, and they’d be glad to do it.
  • Are you happy with those results?  I know of another product that may suit you even better. Would you like to see how?

When there’s a need, more often than not, people want to find a way to satisfy that. Find out what that need is by talking to people and figure out how your service or product can help.

It’s essential to get to know people – you never know when a stranger you just met might become one of your most loyal customers.  There’s more to learn about cultivating welcoming and convincing conversations. Join us at Online Sales Pro and read a relevant marketing guide that tells you more about this topic – “Lead Generation made Easy.”  Meet new people with conversation starters and turn them into leads that will boost your business.