How to Ask Questions and Create Connections Over the Holiday
It’s summertime and that means celebrations are in order—Independence Day, graduations, showers, weddings, picnics, reunions and bonfires. Family and friends gather together to take advantage of the nice weather and celebrate special moments. New connections are made, new friendships are formed and pictures are blasted out on social media.
It’s an opportunity to be face-to-face with friends and family…and their friends. It’s a time to meet others and add to your sphere. How you connect and communicate at these events could lead to future business or leave you standing by yourself like a teenager at the junior high school dance. You must engage!
The key to connecting in a social gathering is to be friendly, smile, lean in for a conversation, ask lots of questions and take pictures.
Recently LabCoat Agents did a webinar with buyer specialist Saria Finkelstein of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She said, “I’d rather ask you 500 questions and show you five homes than ask you five questions and show you 500 homes!”
Let’s relate this asking of questions to our networking practices. Are you good at asking questions or is it more your style to tell people what you do? A great way to make new connections is to start a conversation. You’ve all heard of FORD, right?!
When you meet someone at a wedding, graduation, picnic or holiday gathering, begin with some questions. Just remember it’s a two-way conversation, not an interrogation. Here are some questions to get your started:
Are you married? Have any kids? How old are they? Boys? Girls? Where do they go to school? Where do you live? How long have you lived there? Do you like it there?
What do you do for a living? Where do you work? How long have you done that? Do you love it? Are you looking forward to retirement?
We are having a (hot, rainy, beautiful, chilly) summer. Do you have plans for a vacation this year? Where are you going? How long will you be gone? Is your whole family going with you?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? How long would you stay there? What do you LOVE about that place? What is your dream car?
During your conversation, you may hear hints regarding a move happening one day.
If you are at a graduation party, maybe your friend is looking to downsize since all the kids are now out of the house.
You attend a baby shower for your best friend’s daughter. This is her third baby and the house they are in might be getting a little tight.
You meet your friend at the dog park so he can run his Great Dane puppy. He found out that his apartment complex doesn’t allow dogs over 50 pounds. You suggest he meet with your lender friend to see what price home he qualifies for.
While attending your cousin’s wedding, you discover her husband’s brother is thinking of moving to town. You strike up a conversation and start to build rapport.
Remember to take pictures…lots of pictures.
Become the selfie king/queen. Capture the special moments of the event. At the wedding, capture the cake cutting, the father-daughter dance, the bouquet toss and of course the kiss. During the graduation party, take pictures of the photo boards, the diploma and the graduate with their friends. At the baby shower, take pictures of the cute cupcakes, the presents and of course the mama belly. If special guests come from far away, make sure to take pictures of them with the person of honor.
Post these pictures on social media. Create a keepsake card and send it after the event. Text the pictures throughout the year at random times to your friends so everyone can remember what a good time you all had together.
Building your database can be fun. The summer is young. Your next client is a smile and a handful of questions away. Be friendly. Engage in conversation. Make it a goal to meet at least two or three new people at any event you attend. Have fun! Be you! Enjoy the summer!
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