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  • Ben Hulme

How (not) to start a conversation with strangers...

Loads of different challenges and approaches here, and some interesting input from the crowd.

The remote working effect has swings and roundabouts here - and sales professionals used to building rapport face to face have had to rethink their methods - examples of using voice notes, video, and lots of social selling, and a few key themes emerged…

  • EMAIL STILL WORKS in some settings- but you gotta do it right. The structure of a message, and how personalised it is, make a big difference. Leading with “hope you are well in these challenging times” is, it turns out, a bit naff, especially when it’s a stranger sending the email!

  • COLD vs WARM is not even a debate - positioning and engaging with social media and common interests or community is an obvious step, but there is a big difference between doing it, and doing it well.

  • DON’T INSULT ME. Who knew, right? Oh, and if we’ve never spoken, it might be that assuming I have a problem, or that you can help me, could fall squarely into that category.

  • BE HUMAN. Even if you’re at work, it turns out that quite a lot of people still respond pretty well to…. People. A story, a bit of humour, something personal, maybe even some humility can really make an impact.

  • BE HELPFUL. There’s a lot to be said for giving freely and asking nothing in return. This might be a step too far for a lot of micro-managed robots, and if you’re not interested in playing the long game with your prospects, you can skip this one. On the other hand….


#bemorepirate - even if you’re in sales, marketing and business development. Enrich the day for the strangers you’re trying to start a conversation with. Put yourself in their shoes (or slippers, we all do it these days!) and try breaking some of the rules...