The 5 Best Networking Questions
Networking is a two-way street. You can’t expect fellow business owners to refer you unless you in turn have taken interest in their business. To some extent, to make a good impression needs you to simply be well-mannered. But if you’re looking for some great ways to get networking going then read on;
What do you like best about what you do? This questions generate an interesting conversation much better than the stock ‘what is it you do’ conversation. It gives people a chance to open up about their overall business experience. It also starts a more personal relationship as the person who you are asking will feel a more deep interest than the other standard questions.
What got you started? Understanding another persons personal goals and desires gives you an insight into their professional dedication, how efficient and excited they are about their business. You will learn their story from this question, and you will find that business people are usually excited by their businesses and want to talk about what got them started.
Where else do you usually network? This is a low intensity question and one that really helps to break the ice. It offers both parties a chance to talk about a common interest/concern. You may find out that there is a networking event or group which would be helpful to you.
What are some of your biggest challenges in what you do? Not a question to ask straight off the bat as it might leave them feeling slightly attacked or that the question is a bit intrusive. But once you’ve got a conversation going asking this can help you learn about another businesses challenges and help to give them a referral. Not necessarily a referral for your own business, but actually referring them to a contact that can help.
If you are unable to give a direct business referral you may know or have read something which could help provide a solution to their problem – by suggesting this, for example ‘ I recently read an article which address that very challenge, shall I send it to you?’ you are starting a longer conversation – a relationship. And if you can end this conversation with them handing you their business card and asking you to contact them about anything then you have done networking right. A pat on the back to you!
How can I help you? If you feel as though this person you’re talking too could be someone you would like to continue your networking relationship with then this is a great question to ask. Never underestimate how useful being helpful can be to building a working relationship.