Conversations are the building blocks for business relationships. Here are five ways to approach strangers, build better relationships, and build a business in the process.

As much as technology advances, business is still built one relationship at a time. And those relationships are built one conversation at a time. But whether it’s a friend or a complete stranger, having business conversations isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can feel unnatural or forced. Other times we struggle to find the right words or steer those conversations in the direction we wish. We’ve all been there. We get it. 

Fortunately, these conversations don’t have to be hard – especially with a little practice. The following five hacks can help you pay attention to your business relationships and help you have the kind of conversations that help build them. 

Hack one: listen more. Talk less. 

The first mistake that people often make when they head into a conversation is thinking that they have to do all the talking. After all, talking’s the whole point of having a conversation, right? Wrong. The old adage that we have two ears and one mouth is never more true than in building business relationships. 

Instead of approaching conversations with the desire to talk more, do it with the goal of listening more. Find out what the other side of your conversation wants. And don’t just pay lip service here. Really pay attention. Remember, effective business relationships run on reciprocity. They’re not a one-way street. 

Hack two: take notes. 

Network marketing is serious business. It takes hard work, time, dedication, and a whole lot of effort. A big mistake people can make when it comes to building relationships in network marketing is not taking it professionally enough. 

One way to avoid this mistake while having more meaningful conversations is to take notes. Taking notes helps in a variety of ways. It focuses your concentration into the present moment and what’s being said. It helps you capture valuable information that you can record and internalize later. It also shows the other person how seriously you take your job. Start carrying a notebook with you to all your important conversations. The difference may surprise you. 

Hack three: ask a second question. 

Digging deeper can help you improve your business conversations. And this hack can definitely help. Whether you’re approaching someone about a business opportunity or following up, never settle for one question. Instead, always ask a follow up. It’s a simple hack that you can actually turn into a game. 

Hack four: pay attention to nonverbal cues. 

Sometimes nonverbal cues drive business conversations as much as words do. Imagine that your significant other walks through the door. He’s moving fast, his face is red, and he slams his backpack on the floor and crosses his arms. Cautiously, you ask him if he’s ok. “I’m fine!” He yells. What you just saw are a series of non verbal cues that said one thing while hearing words that communicated the opposite. 

Nonverbal communication includes all of body motions, facial expressions, how we dress, and even the objects we use. During your conversations, pay attention to the nonverbal cues that your counterpart is using. Also be aware of your own. Are you sitting confidently or defensively? How’s the tone of your voice? Since nonverbal cues can take up between 60 and 90% of our conversations, learning how to pay attention to them can make a huge difference. 

Hack five: listen to learn. 

We previously discussed how listening more and talking less during conversations can increase your ability to build good business relationships. But sometimes it’s not merely the act of listening that makes the biggest difference. It’s how you listen. Approach every conversation with the intent to learn. This means often going beyond your initial ostensible goal for the conversation. Let’s say you’re approaching someone about a business opportunity for the first time. You might think your goal is to enroll them or for this person to become your business partner. How would that conversation change if, instead, if your goal was to figure out how you can help this person? Or what if it was to try to understand them on a deeper level? This is a pretty great hack as well as a life-long skill to develop. 

In network marketing, so much of your business-building efforts rely on conversations skills. Improving them is something you’ll never regret. But maybe the most important factor in creating and developing new business relationships is simply to be yourself. There is only one you. There will only ever be one you. Don’t wear a social mask to your conversations. Don’t try to be someone you think the other person wants you to be. You are, after all, awesome. So keep being you while you try these conversation hacks out. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LifeVantage or any other agency, organization, employer or company