Starting a Conversation with a Prospect

Before you think about starting a conversation with a prospect be sure to do a little bit of preparation. Be very clear and self-confident in your vision, mission and culture statements. Because your ideal clients will be attracted to these, and you can’t effectively define any marketing strategy without those. Focus on building long-term relationships without expecting instant results. Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting has created a very definitive culture that has successfully attracted our ideal clients. We have developed relationships with those who share our culture, believe in lifelong learning and have the desire to improve and trust GDCC to be able to do that.

Be Where Your Clients Are

A key part of your marketing should be putting yourself in a position to meet and mingle with your ideal clients. This involves researching where you are most likely to find them. Hopefully you have already identified the details about your ideal clients so you know their interests (sports, art, personal trainers, travel, specific charities, etc.), where they spend their leisure time, how they shop, where they shop, and more. This information clarifies where and how you can connect with them. Select which of those activities, organizations, and events are of interest to you and then become involved in those areas.

Be Personable and Natural

Once you’ve identified where you plan to meet your ideal clients and are then ready to start connecting with them, focus on ways to start a conversation and begin to build rapport. Asking for information from the person with whom you want to connect can be one way to build rapport. Or pay a compliment – maybe they are wearing an attractive piece of jewelry!

When you’re at an event of interest to your ideal client, ask questions about the event and if they are personally involved. These questions can lead to additional questions about their involvement, support or the history of the event.

Sometimes there might be the opportunity to offer help. Even if it’s just to hold the door if their hands are full. That offers the first connection and then you may be able to build on that later. Or ask for help yourself (only if it’s convenient for the other party) and that “ask” also can also help you start a friendly conversation. Start small and build a connection naturally!

Leverage Mutual Connections

If there is someone whom you know shares something in common with you, those shared experiences can aid in the flow of conversation. Put yourself in a position to mingle with your ideal clients.

When I moved across the country, I attended a meeting of an organization with whom I had been very active in my previous area – and which had connected me with numerous ideal clients. When I checked in they realized I was new to the area and they introduced me as such to their ambassadors. Then when the meeting started they had visitors stand up and introduce themselves. And so when I got up to introduce myself they shared that I had just moved here and a little bit about me.

There were nearly 100 members attending. At that one meeting I met the representative of the local TV station and newspaper, the Chancellor of the University, the wife of a former state senator who is one of the most active and connected people in town, several top real estate agents in town, a variety of city leaders and multiple other people who became great “connectors” for me as a new resident.

You can use a different approach to the above situation even if you are not new to the area but are new to that group. Ask questions and ask opinions – something relevant to the moment or event. It shows you are interested and value their viewpoint and can start a conversation.

Always look for ways to make a connection. Rather than trying to tell others about your business, instead focus on asking questions and showing interest in others. As with all marketing, you don’t want to sell yourself too aggressively. Instead, show interest in the people you want to connect with, and they will be naturally attracted to you. Remember, you are building relationships that will hopefully be long-lasting. Not only with prospective ideal clients but with those who can connect you to ideal clients. In the words of author and speaker Bob Burg:  “The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.”

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Drue Lawlor

Director of Business Transformation Coaching Drue leads our coaching and consulting. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the 12-month Strategic Business Transformation Group Coaching. The program leads the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Outside of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting she is the co-founder of Boomers with a Plan B. She is driven to help clients create a safer and healthier homes. You’ll find her in Senior Magazine and a contributor to the following books: Design for Aging: Post Occupancy Evaluations and Interior Graphic Standards, second edition.
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