How to build your prospect list: just ask three questions


This Labor Day weekend, many will attend parties and meet new people. Social (or business) gatherings are an opportunity to expand your network of contacts, all of whom could be potential clients or referral sources.

If you have something planned this Labor Day weekend, before you go, I know you’ll check your wallet or purse, making sure you have plenty of business cards on hand. But if you’re like most people, the opportunity to connect with new people will come and go. You will neither pass out cards nor collect any.

You’ll meet people and politely discuss sports or the weather or how tasty the hamburgers are, but you won’t get their contact information and they won’t get yours.

But you don’t have to squander this opportunity. All you have to do is ask three simple questions:

First, introduce yourself and ask for their name. "I’m David, what’s your name."

Easy enough. Now you know their name and they know yours. Use their name a few times so you don’t forget it three seconds later, as we so often do.

Second, ask them what they do. 

You can first ask how they know the host or how they are otherwise connected with the event, but then ask them what they do for a living.

"So, what do you do?"

Also easy.

Ask a follow up question or two and let them tell you all about what they do. When they are done, most people will ask you what YOU do. On the rare occasion when they don’t, just go on to the third question.

Third, ask for their card. "Do you have a card?"

When they give you their card, give them yours.

Voila, instant contact.

If they don’t have a card with them (and many won’t, especially at a social function), give them one of yours and ask them to write their information on the back.

"Write your contact information here." At least get their email address or web site.

It will help if you offer them a reason you are asking. If appropriate, tell them you might run into someone who could use their products or services. Or, simply tell them you would like to stay in touch.

Any reason will do.

Your objective at any social or business function is not to pass out your card (although that’s good, too), it is to find out something about the people you meet and capture their contact information so you can stay in touch with them.

To accomplish that, all you need to do is ask three simple questions.

Have a great weekend!