While many people find it easy to make small talk in casual situations, when it comes to these simple conversations with clients, the experience can be uncomfortable.
Usually, small talk is just a prelude to more serious discussions, often involving money, so the conversations are often more about killing time until the important part begins.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make casually chatting with clients easier. To help you get started, here are a few tips you can start using today.
Start with Research
One of the reasons small talk can be uncomfortable is that you are trying to find common ground, and that isn’t always easy if you are picking topics out of the blue. Instead of leaving things to chance, do a little research to identify talking points that might intrigue the client.
For example, you can review their social media profiles for hints about the hobbies, information about where they went to school, or details about their career. Then, use those as springboards to get everyone talking.
Just make sure you don’t pry too much when reviewing social media accounts, especially if their profiles are set to private. Otherwise, your level of interest may seem creepy, and that won’t leave a good impression.
Alternatively, you can review industry or company news, as well as emerging trends in their field. If you find out their business achieved a milestone or had some recent positive press, consider offering a “congratulations” and asking if there was an accompanying celebration.
Most people like to talk about their accomplishments, so this can be an easy way to break the ice.
Don’t Immediately Start Trying to Make a Sale
Even if you are getting together with a client to discuss something business related, resist the urge to forgo small talk and immediately start trying to close the deal. This can be seen as disrespectful, suggesting that you are only interested in the money and not them as a person.
By easing into the conversation, you can establish a rapport, allowing the relationship to be built on something more than just dollar signs, products, or services.
Remain Professional at All Times
Even if you spot something on their social media account about a controversial or personal topic, it’s wise to stay away from these sorts of conversations. Instead, you want to remain professional at all times.
When in doubt, stick to safe topics that aren’t likely to raise any eyebrows. When in doubt, focus on tried-and-true conversation points, like the weather or if they have any upcoming plans for their weekend. While these may be cliché, they certainly aren’t controversial and will help you get the conversation going.
By following the tips above, you can make sure you are prepared for a little small talk with your clients before you get down to business. If you are looking for more tips or are seeking out new job opportunities, the professionals at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.