I often talk about the Law of Reciprocity as an example of how you can build rapport with a prospect or customer.
Reciprocity works because most of us don’t like to feel obligated to someone else. When someone gives us a gift, we want to reciprocate. So when you give a gift to a prospect or customer, generally they will want to reciprocate by at least giving you her/his attention. And a prospect’s attention is the first thing you need before you can build a rapport that can eventually lead to a sale.
So what does this have to do with business networking meetings?
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a networking group meeting. One of the things I noticed is that reciprocity is one of the most challenging aspects in a networking situation. Why? Probably because we learn quickly that participation in a networking group environment creates a sense of obligation for us to do business with, as well as to refer business to fellow members. But really, it’s just another way to conduct business. So make sure you do it the right way.
Here’s a suggestion for how to be proactive when you’re at a networking event. If you want someone to ask you a specific question, you ask it first. I have found that if you ask the questions you want someone to ask you, you will be building trust and relationships. And here are some examples of questions you could massage to fit your business and use:
1. Who is your target market?
2. What is your biggest challenge?
3. How do you generate most of your business?
4. What sets you apart from your competition?
5. How would I know if someone I’m talking to would be a great prospect for you?
This last question I feel is the best one to ask, as it tells the person that you are interested in referring business to her/him. By doing this, the person is likely to ask you the same question. The next time you are at a networking event, use these questions and see what happens. And if you have other questions that have worked well for you, as I’m sure you do, tell us about them in the Comment section below.
The Language Lab guest blogger: Ken Varga is the author of “How To Get Customers To Call, Buy & Beg For More,” as well as over 300 information products. Before selling his last company, around the year 2000, Ken founded 35 companies during his 38-year career. He successfully generated over 6,000,000 customers across those companies. You can learn more about Ken at www.kenvarga.com, or view his Linkedin profile at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kenneth-varga/8/678/76.