If you hate small talk, you are not alone. Many creatives do.But "chatting" may truly be the best way to start your first call with any prospect -- whether it's a free consultation or a discovery call.
Here's why: small talk helps you establish a bond from the first moment AND gather important information about your prospect.
Because to me, that's the point of that first call --My first goal is to find out who I'm dealing with, not to perform or audition (both exhausting and stressful) or, Heaven forbid, to quote a price. It’s way too soon for that.
to get a little window into "who is this person?"
So during the free mentoring session I offer, I start by asking a random question:
- How's the weather today?
- Where are you? OR What time is it where you are?
- How is your day going?
- What kind of dog do you have? (If I hear a dog, of course. I love bonding over dogs)
You’d be surprised how much people will tell you about themselves with a simple prompt -- especially if you're paying attention (but not if you're worried about what they'll think of you).
I want to see – before we get any further – if this is someone I can work with. Don't you?
I want to assess if this is someone who will bring out the best in me. That’s what I’m vetting for. Aren't you?
I want to know if we can have a conversation that flows smoothly. If so, that bodes well.
It all starts with that first "chat."
But if you don't ask for (and insist on) a call in real time, if you just shoot back a price when someone says they have a project, you will miss all the value that you can build into what may (or may not) be a productive long term working relationship.
So if you hate small talk, try reframing it as an information gathering exercise. That's the only way for you to be the one to decide if they are a good fit for you.
BTW This is another idea from an amazing book I am reading: "Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connection to Negotiate Fearlessly" by Mori Taheripour.
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