The one question NEED to ask every new connection

To be successful networking you need to have a polished elevator pitch. It is vital that you can communicate whom you work with, the problems you solve, and the benefits clients experience when they work with you. But, after you and the person you are taking to have delivered your elevator pitches, what happens next?


Often the conversation resorts to business small talk as both parties attempt to get a deeper understanding of what the other persons business does, exploring who the ideal clients are, and why potential clients invest in products/services from the person you are talking to. When done poorly it can feel like a tactical battle as each “side” probes for “weakness” – looking for a sales opportunity.


To stand out from everyone else at a networking event there are several things that you should be asking about – and one VITAL question you need to ask.


To truly engage with the person you are talking to you need to get a deeper understanding of who they are as a person – and not just at a business level. To do this you should be asking them about what inspired them to get involved in their business, how they got involved, and find out a little about their background and what makes them “tick” as a human being.


This one aspect alone will enable you to be more memorable than everyone else in the room because you’ll build a much deeper connection with them – and the following day when they try and recall who they spoke to you will be remembered.


But there is one more question that will enable you to not only get a deeper understanding of who they are, but also how you can help them. And that is to ask them this one simple question…


“What are the biggest challenges you are facing at the moment?”


This simple sentence allows you to demonstrate that you have a genuine concern for the person you are talking to by allowing them the opportunity to share what their biggest issues are. It reduces resistance because they will not feel like you are mining them for “opportunities to pitch” your products/services. This simple question helps build rapport and trust because it exhibits genuine care and concern about their current situation.


Importantly, from your perspective, it provides you an opportunity to either offer to sit down for a more detailed discussion after the event to see how you can help them resolve their challenges, or an opportunity to strengthen the connection with the individual by identifying other people who may be in a position to help them and making the introduction – which improves your relationship with the person you have just met and the contact you introduce them too!


Networking is a long-term strategy, that when done well, will be very profitable for you. But to achieve success you need to focus on building the relationships with those you meet and allowing the sales to follow naturally afterwards.

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.