Before you attend your next networking event, ask yourself five questions that you would like people you meet to ask you. To get the most out of the principle of reciprocity, you need to then take the initiative. Armed with those five questions, ask as many as you can of the people you meet at the event.
Here are a few great questions provided by BNI founder Ivan Misner:
- What do you do?
- Who makes up your target market?
- What do you like most about what you do?
- What’s new in your business?
- What’s the biggest challenge in your business?
- What sets you apart from your competitors?
- Why did you start your business?
- Are you geographically or seasonally focused?
- What’s your most popular product or service?
- How do you generate most of your business?
The best question
Bog Burg, the author of “Endless Referrals,” says that there’s another question he believes is the most important of all. It is this:
“How can I know if someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?”
This question cuts to the heart of BNI’s philosophy and will ensure that you can begin finding prospects for your new connection. It shows that you are genuinely interested in them, and in helping them. These are the qualities of great networkers, setting you apart from the field and setting the foundation for a long-term relationship. The key is to ask this question in the right way, with a genuine interest in the answer. If you are not sincere, it will show.
If you want people to ask good questions of you, set the tone by asking them first.