Ice Breaker: Conversation Starters With Clients
A little about Communication
Communication is nothing but a better way of understanding the other person. Communication skills will help us in every aspect of life. And when it comes to the business world it's like an ace in your pocket. You really need to nourish it and constantly work on it. Communication simply doesn't mean shouting in a loud voice and entering into an argument. The moment you enter into an argument, it shows you need to work on your communication skills. You would have to properly listen to the other person and then after giving a thought, should agree to the discussion. By agreeing it doesn't mean you have to surrender before the other person. Upon agreeing, you may put forward your difference of opinion and win the situation.
The Collins English Dictionary definition of the term "soft skills"
"desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude."
Scenario 1 : The client is at the Floor
The Client has arrived and expected to see you the very next moment. The Client is followed by senior management and other high-end stakeholders. These are the people whom you would not try to upset. The Client is approaching and is interested in eye contact with you. What would you do in such a situation?
The way you should present yourself
You need to keep calm and look back with a positive body language. You need to rise up confidently from your desk and pass a smile to towards the client. The smile would convey the message that you are a friendly person and would send out an invitation for a conversation.
Receive them with a warm welcome and greet them with a handshake. Some people have the problem of sweating hands because of nervousness and anxiety. They can use a handkerchief before greeting the client. Now as the client is at your desk, you can stand in an ease position and hold both your arms, this would give you a position which will project strong confidence in your personality.
Try to listen before you speak, because it would be easy to start the conversation on the lines the client is already discussing with you.
Mostly as the client is a total stranger, he/she may decide to keep quiet and look forward to you to start a conversation.
You may try below Ice breakers to start the conversation:
Your First Move
Talk about the flight
How was your Trip? Was it a smooth one or a bumpy ride? :)
As per my knowledge, people love talking about their journey. this is an unbiased topic, which everyone would like to discuss
Talk about the weather
Hey, hope you like the weather here. Though it's not as cold as in Europe, you would manage, isn't it? :).
Weather is another area which can be used to reflect the state of mind of your client. Use it to proceed further.
Talk to the senior mangers/stakeholders present in there
Hey, I am so glad for this opportunity to interact with the client and ask the question to serve them better.
Use the senior managers/stakeholders as your weapons to start w conversation. Remember, it's easy to talk to someone you know and then take the conversation to the next level.
“The key is when a customer walks away, thinking ‘Wow, I love doing business with them, and I want to tell others about the experience.’”
Scenario 2: The Client invites you for a lunch/dinner
You are finished with the greeting and the business talk and the Client invites you for the Lunch/Dinner. You are getting nervous about how to handle this situation as your other teammates have decided to skip this and put this on your shoulder. Think about what will you do in this situation..
The way you should present yourself
Take this as an opportunity to get a little personal with the Client and make this moment a bond between the client and the vendor by knowing him/her better. Trust me and I am saying this from my personal experiences. The client will always remember how you made them feel on the lunch/dinner Table.
First, offer the seat to the guest and then choose a seat that is in the middle. This would help you to interact with everyone present on the table. Don't be shy to look and try making eye contact with the client. Do remember to be conscious about your eating,
You can then choose to opt for any of the below topics to start a communication.
Your first move
Talk about the Food
Hey, hope you like the food. I know it would be a little spicy, but it is good to try something different today
It's quite a possibility that the food habits of your client would not match you. Its always good to know their choice and order food.
Talk about thier hobbies- Movies, Politics, Sports
Can't wait for Avengers endgame to hit the screens. I hope you would also be looking forward to it. Are you into movies?
A person can be judged by his hobbies. try to explore this a little and try to listen and understand and then react.
Bring in some humor
Hey, you remember the moment you stepped in the floor and then all eyes were on you. Still, people were trying to pretend to work, it was really funny.
Laughter is the best bond ever. Know your limits and let humor control the environment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Saurabh Singh