Not long ago, I was at an event where many real estate investors were networking. That night I met a woman, a fellow real estate investor, and struck up a conversation.
In a fairly short period of time, I learned a great deal about Lois. About her family, where she spent her time, interests she had, and of course, what kind of real estate investments she was interested in. We exchanged cards, with promises to reconnect at a future date. Which we did. Lois was an interesting person, one I was enjoying to get to know.
This article is part of a series on using the GAINS system to have more effective one-to-one meetings. This article focuses on Skills, for an overview on utilizing GAINS to improve your results, click here to read–> “Want to GAINS More Referrals?“
Several months later, a fellow BNI member was looking for a connection to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO). I felt that there was someone I knew in that organization, but it wasn’t coming to me right away. I looked at my LinkedIn account, to see if anyone jumped out at me that could help me make the connection. As is often said in networking, you just don’t know who other people may know.
As it turns out, I was able to make a connection between my BNI colleague and Lois I because of a skillset she has. Lois plays violin for the ISO. I remember back to the specific conversation she and I had about a violin I’d bought at an auction, mostly because I thought it would look cool as a decoration. This all sparked from a simple question I’d asked her during our first meeting, “What do you keep busy with?” Lois chose to talk about playing the violin.
The question is vague on purpose. It gets people to answer it in any way they choose. They can direct it toward work, family, interests or skills. I find it a great way to get to know people I’m first meeting. As it turned out, my question took me in a direction with my new friend that ended up turning into a possibly referral source for my fellow BNI colleague.
This is a great question even for people you know well. “What are you keeping busy with?” is a great question which lets them direct how the conversation goes. So, the next time you’re having a conversation with someone new, or even someone you think you know well, don’t discount the skills that they share with you. It will help you keep your foot on the gas on your referral engine.
Mark B. Dolfini is an Area Director for BNI Central Indiana and author of The Time-Wealthy Investor: Your Real Estate Roadmap to Owning More, Working Less, and Creating the Life You Want. www.LandlordCoach.com