Prospecting For Business? Say as little as possible during the conversation

Deborah Varallo

By Deborah Varallo

I am often contacted on how to find more clients. There are so many thoughts I can share with you but time only allows for a few recommendations.

Marketing your business and service is ongoing. You can’t stop promoting yourself, your firm and what you have to offer to your prospects. Your competition, all hundred-plus of them in your industry, is doing the same thing. Want to be different and successful? Do it right and never let up.

Here are some tips for meeting new prospects and getting them to remember you.

Read before you go to any event. Know what is happening in your city, the region and the world. Be knowledgeable when discussions occur. When asked a question you don’t need a “deer in the headlight” look. Know before you go!

When you arrive at an event – take on a “host mentality.” Begin meeting people within the first 15 seconds of entering a room. Give the impression you know the people at the event even if you only know a few. Meet people with a smile and a strong handshake.

Always carry business cards. Your business cards allow you to “exchange” information with someone.

Begin with a strong handshake, a simple introduction, and looking in their eyes as you state your name and you repeat theirs. Remember, this conversation is not about you, it is about the new person you just met. Ask questions about his job and his responsibilities. Questions are like a magnet and will convey information back to you.

I was traveling back from Washington recently and had a discussion with my seatmate. I asked him lots of questions; gathered wonderful information and I never talked about myself. As we left the plane, he said, “I really like you; thank you for a great exchange of ideas.” the funny thing was – we never talked about me. But he asked me for a business card, he contacted me later and, yes, his company is one of our clients.

A few months ago, I attended a regional health care meeting and strategically sat at a table where I didn’t know anyone. I had less than 10 minutes to have a conversation before the program began. I introduced myself and asked questions and never talked about me or my firm. Once the program was over, I thanked my new acquaintance for the conversation. He asked me for my business card, and, of course, I had one to give him. Within a week, I received a telephone call requesting I meet the firm’s marketing director. Within a month, they were a new client.

Conversations with new people should last no more than 10 minutes. the reasoning is the person doesn’t feel they have been overwhelmed with someone they may not like. And only aft er a comfortable and informative conversation do you then state, “I would like to continue our conversation in the future, may we exchange contact information?” Be aware the person will probably not have a business card as it gives them the excuse to not exchange business information. Your business card is to get someone else’s card or information. If they don’t have a card, ask them for their contact information and write it on the back of your business card. then fold your card and slip it in your pocket to refer to later.

A day or two aft er the event, send an email message to the person and thank them for spending time with you. Don’t make a sales pitch; just thank them. A week later, send then an article that you think they might enjoy reading. Again, don’t make a sales pitch. then two weeks later, call and schedule a face-to-face meeting. You will most likely receive their voicemail. Leave a message as to why you called. Follow up with an email message you called to schedule a meeting. What you have done is reinforce in him/her you are serious about meeting.

And be sure you include all your contact information in your email signature. A complete email signature signifies your mean business and quickens the reply.


That’s all I have time (or space) for now. I welcome your suggestions for developing new business. You can email me at Deb@varallopr.com. I also invite you to connect with me on my LinkedIn page DeborahVarallo and or follow my Twitter account Deb_Varallo.