In previous posts we have looked at what not to do, it is important to be aware of what you should be doing. Approaches like “FORM”, a conversational structure intended to help your speak to prospects, opportunities and network and ensure there is a good, two way conversation that feels natural and authentic. Systems like FORM allow you to overcome initial nerves and control the flow of conversation, a critical trait of many successful business men and women.
FORM is an acronym and it is intended as a loose structure for a natural conversation to help you to speak to prospects so they will tell you about themselves. It stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Message.
The first three points are subjects to ask your prospect about. The idea is you have a normal conversation with them, incorporating any or all of the subjects “family”, “occupation” and “recreation”. Spend time asking them about their family, what they do for a living and what they like to do outside of work for fun. The M, for “message”, will come later.
The key is to ask open questions – questions that are designed to get more than a one word answer. Open questions tend to start with the words “what”, “how”, “where”, “why”, “when” or “who”.
For example “Where are you off to on your holidays this year?” or “How do you get most of your business?”.
As people talk the key is to keep them talking as much as possible and make sure we are actively listening. Keep the conversation focused on them. If they turn it back to you answer briefly then ask them another open question. As they give you some information ask more questions to get them to open up even more.
You will be amazed that people you know, people you meet at networking events and even perfect strangers will tell you about challenges in their life or their business and the things that are important in their life. Our job is to keep listening for clues, because within some of the conversations there will be an opportunity to introduce them to a colleague at your networking group or to invite them to visit the group or transact with you and your business.