Chatting with clients is a great way to make connections, but in a world full of deadlines and meetings, it can be tempting to pass on friendly conversation and get right down to business. The good news: You can have an impactful exchange with a client even when you’re short on time.
A few well-chosen words will help you make the most of a conversation, brighten your client’s day, and boost your mood to boot! Here are three steps to help you balance banter with brevity.
- Get specific. This is the time to show your client you care, so get the ball rolling by referring to previous conversations (“How is your daughter’s softball season going?”) or bringing up current events in your client’s life (“I loved your editorial in last week’s paper!”). If you’re blanking, don’t be afraid to share a bit about yourself by shaking up the oh-so-typical “How are you” exchange.
- Ask a guiding question. After a little back and forth, steer the conversation with a guiding question like “What can I do for you?” or “How may I help you today?” Guiding questions showcase your eagerness, and help you cut to the chase tactfully.
- Make a note of what you’ve learned. When you wrap up your conversation, take a moment to make a note — mental or otherwise — of anything new you learned about your client, so you’re ready to ask engaging questions the next time around.
Your conversations with clients don’t have to be long in order to be meaningful. Likewise, a little chitchat now and then doesn’t have to make your day less efficient — in fact, a friendly exchange can strengthen your customer relationships and make it well worth your time.