You're a Spanish-speaking Sales Engineer.
Your Account Executive just scheduled a dinner meeting with a prospect.
The problem? It's in English. 😬
The conversation feels forced whenever you have casual meetings in English.
It's hard for you to keep the conversation going.
When you finally think of something interesting to say, the conversation has already moved to a new topic.
The dinner ends, and you failed to make a good impression.
You don't need to suffer like this.
Here are 3 powerful ways to combine ChatGPT with classic conversation strategies to impress in your next dinner conversation.
Strategy 1: Pretend you're a podcast host and ask open-ended questions
Here's a terrible conversation starter: "Are you having good weather?" 😴
The only way to answer this is with yes or no.
Then the conversation dies.
Yes/no questions force you to think of new topics constantly. It's stressful, and you don't learn much about your prospect.
Imagine if your favorite podcast host only asked their guests yes/no questions. It would be very boring!
Instead, they ask a lot of open-ended questions.
You might be thinking: I don't know the questions to ask.
With a little ChatGPT magic, you'll have a ton of ideas.
Maybe you sell software and have a casual dinner with a large financial prospect. You need some good ideas for an engaging (interesante) chat.
Or perhaps you have a formal dinner meeting with a defense contractor. Ask ChatGPT for a few ideas.
Your prospect can't answer an open-ended question with yes or no.
When your prospect answers an open-ended question, you'll learn more about them and can continue to ask follow-up questions.
For example, they may be excited about adding smart lights to their home. You don't need to be an expert on smart lights. Just be curious:
- What types of smart bulbs are you considering?
- What features are you most excited about?
- What else have you automated in your home?
Pretend you're a podcast host, ask open-ended questions, and all your pressure will disappear. ✅
Strategy 2: Share vulnerabilities to make yourself likable
Nobody likes people who think they're perfect.
Sharing something that makes you uncomfortable or that you're not good at makes you more human and relatable. 😊
Your prospects will start to see you as a trusted advisor. They'll stop thinking of you as a corporate robot.
The more they trust you, the better your chance of winning the deal.
Plus, if they have the same vulnerability, you just found another great conversation topic.
A vulnerability can be anything:
- Something at work that makes you nervous
- A sport you're bad at
- Your English
- One of your biggest fears
- Making small talk
Combine vulnerabilities, open-ended questions, and ChatGPT for a powerful way to start conversations with prospects.
This is where ChatGPT can help.
Tell ChatGPT you need a few two-sentence conversation starters.
- The first sentence should share your vulnerability.
- The second should be an open-ended question.
Maybe you are very nervous when speaking in public.
Here are some ideas for sharing the fact that you're a terrible cook.
And, maybe you hate golf. Try these.
Strategy 3: Use a shared experience to build friendships
We call this technique "triangulation."
You + Them + A Shared Experience.
These are the three points of your triangle. 🔺
Remember how easy it was for you to make friends as a kid in school or a young adult in college?
A big reason is that every day was a shared experience for you.
- You had the same teachers.
- You had the same annoying homework.
- You worried about the same grades.
- You played the same sports.
It's easy to relate to people and build relationships when you share an experience.
It's harder as an adult. But there are still plenty of shared experiences you can discuss.
- Do you hate getting SPAM emails? They get them too.
- Did you both sit through a boring meeting? They probably hated it too.
- Have you ever had a bad boss? So did they.
- Do you have crazy-busy days with tons of meetings? So do they.
- Was COVID hard for you? It was hard for them too.
Here's how you can turn these into conversation starters:
- Today's been a crazy day of endless meetings. How are you feeling?
- I used to go to the gym three times a week before COVID. It's been hard for me to get the habit back. How about you?
- What'd you think of that last meeting? I thought it was very insightful.
- There's nothing more annoying than vendors sending you 1000 emails. Do you get them too?
Not sure how to think of ideas like this? Time to ask ChatGPT.
I told it I needed 10 "playful" questions (definitely try experimenting with tones) to ask cybersecurity employees about shared experiences. Here's what ChatGPT said:
With open-ended questions, shared vulnerabilities, shared experiences, and ChatGPT, you'll be able to start much more natural casual conversations with prospects in English.
How are you supposed to remember all these ChatGPT suggestions?
Getting ideas is just the first step.
To use these in a real conversation, you need deliberate practice.
I'll teach you how.
Every week, I email 5 English tips for Latin American Sales Engineers.
These tips include practice strategies, mini-lessons, and useful apps to help you stop worrying about your English in the sales process.
Use the form below to subscribe to the free Sales Engineer English Newsletter today. 👇