Here is one of the most effective lessons that I have learned in my career and in nonprofit mentoring, especially with a new prospect: You cannot have a meaningful relationship without rapport, chemistry and credibility!
The only way to build these three vital elements is to get the prospect talking first. It’s simple but not easy.
It is simple because here’s what you need to do: Ask them a question before the prospect meeting begins that gets them talking relevantly about themselves. “So, how did you get started in this business?” Or “Did you always think you would be working in this career path?” I stress relevancy since a question about the weather will not reveal anything about the prospect’s true self.
It is not easy, because you will be tempted to jump right in and “get to your agenda.” If you don’t act quickly with your question, the prospect will derail you with a statement like, “I only have 20 minutes so tell me why you are here?” NOTHING good ever follows this scenario. But when the prospect is sharing their career information, they are connecting with you on a meaningful level, thus building these three elements very early in your encounter.
If you practice this to the point of being prepared to ask the question as you are settling into the prospect meeting, the prospect will allow you to control the meeting. I stress preparedness because the more prepared you are the less your nerves will get YOU talking first. And the bonus is that as they begin to speak, you get to relax, making you more effective throughout the prospect meeting.
What question will you ask in your next prospect meeting?