Best Conversation Starters for New Business Connections

80% of sales representatives and business executives who are good at building client relationships are more successful in achieving sales targets than their counterparts. 

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One surest way to increase your conversion rate is by mastering the art of starting a conversation with potential clients and maintaining it. Small talk that is generic won’t get the job done. 

Here are 8 proven conversation starters to establish cordial relationships with potential customers.

Go Beyond the “What do you do?”

Being predictable and boring will discourage prospects from conversing with you after the first interaction. Stop using the often overused and predictable opening questions like, what do you do? 

Instead, pique their curiosity and spark passion by asking, "What problem do you solve that gets you really excited?" These questions will prompt them to share their true motivation and expertise, leading to a more compelling exchange.

Find Common Ground

The secret to closing more sales is establishing formidable connections. You can achieve this goal by using professional icebreakers at social and professional networking events.

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Identify something that resonates with you and your brand and use it as a conversation starter. 

For example, if you attend a social event on a weekend and spot someone wearing a band t-shirt. Break the ice with, "Love your taste in music! Who's your favorite musician?" 

This instantly creates a shared space and opens the door for further conversation. Ensure the conversation is genuine to spark their interest in your brand when you finally pitch your service or product.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

One of the common conversation killers is the yes/no questions. They make it difficult to keep the conversation going. You will have to look for a different angle every time, which will be difficult if you don’t know much about the client.

Avoid open-ended questions and ask questions that prompt them to share more about their perspective and industry. 

For example, "What's the biggest challenge in your industry right now? What’s your take on the new robotic technology? 

This invites them to share their thoughts and experiences, leading to a richer conversation. At the same time, be ready to share your thoughts on the topic and show genuine interest to make the conversation open and friendly.

Show Genuine Interest

Showing genuine interest goes beyond simply hearing words; it's about actively engaging with potential clients and making them feel heard and valued. 

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Put away distractions and pay full attention to what they're saying, both verbally and non-verbally. Notice their body language, tone, and facial expressions.

Show physical engagement by inclining your body towards them, demonstrating your interest in their message. Don't assume you understand everything. If something is unclear, politely ask for clarification to ensure you're on the same page.

Occasionally, rephrase what you've heard in your own words. This shows you're processing what they're saying and encourages them to share more. Nod, respond thoughtfully, and avoid interrupting. 

Remember, it's not about you and your brand; it's about building a connection that will later translate into sales or a business partnership.

Share Relatable Anecdotes

Humor is one of the most powerful conversation starters if used correctly. Lighthearted stories will make you memorable and reveal your personality. 

Pick stories with a lighthearted punchline, funny observation, or unexpected twist. Aim for a chuckle, not a guffaw. 

For example, I once had a client who insisted their logo be shaped like a dancing llama..."

Ensure your anecdote is relevant to the topic at hand or the person you're talking to. If they're discussing marketing, don't share a llama logo story unless it specifically relates to branding challenges.

The rule of thumb is not to force humor in the conversation. Wait for a natural pause in the conversation where your anecdote can land smoothly.

Remember Names and Details

It’s the little things that you probably thought the client doesn’t pay attention to that matter to them. Practising active listening will help you take note of small details such as names and addresses.

Recall and use the small nuances to keep the conversation going to establish a deeper conversation and meaningful connection. 

For example, Sarah, that packaging solution you mentioned using recycled algae – is fascinating! How has it affected your sales and reputation?”

This kind of conversation starters shows you truly listened and cared about their work. This personal touch builds trust and strengthens the connection, setting you apart as someone who listens and values individuals.

Provide Thoughtful Responses

Your responses will either break or make your conversation. 

Ditch the "uh-huhs" and generic praise! Craft thoughtful responses that build rapport. When they mention challenges, offer insights from your experience. Ask curious questions like, "What metrics define success for that project?" 

Acknowledge their emotions with empathy, like, "That sounds frustrating. Is there anything I can do to help?" And, if relevant, share a brief story that is relevant, like. "I faced a similar hurdle with a client and found..." Remember, details matter! 

Show you were attentive and genuinely interested in the conversation by referencing something specific, like, "Your point about the use of AI in marketing reminds me of a recent article I read about digital business cards and how it helps Fortune 500 companies network and share more information with customers..." 

Going beyond surface-level responses will spark deeper connections and leave a lasting impression. Go forth and impress with your thoughtful engagement!

Don’t Sell, Connect

Networking is about building relationships with potential customers first, not making sales pitches. Focus on finding common ground and learning more about each other. 

Applying this hack alongside other conversation starters discussed above will enable you to establish a solid relationship and allow business opportunities to blossom naturally. 

Imagine walking into an event looking for friends, not clients. Shift your focus from "What can the prospect do for me and my business?" to "What interesting things can I learn from them?"

Ask open-ended questions that draw them out instead of launching into your elevator pitch. Discover their passions, their challenges, and their dreams.  Find common ground, whether it's a shared love of rock climbing or a mutual frustration with industry jargon. 

Remember Sarah from the sustainable packaging startup mentioned earlier? Instead of bombarding her with your green-tech solution, delve deeper. Ask how she sources the algae, what challenges she faces, or what excites her most about the future of eco-friendly packaging. 

Listen intently, offer support, and celebrate her successes. You can also float the idea of using the best digital business card in the market to enhance her networking efforts. 


The modern business world offers unlimited networking opportunities thanks to new technology and solutions. In every conversation with a potential client, remember it’s all about building connections, not forcing sales. Focus on forging relationships, celebrate each other’s successes, and let opportunities blossom naturally. 

Applying these 8 proven conversation starters will spark genuine and deeper conversations that will result in more sales and business collaborations.

About the Author


Vibhu Dhariwal, Director of Marketing at Digital Gratified Pvt. Ltd.

Vibhu Dhariwal is Co-Founder & Director of Marketing at Digital Gratified. He likes sharing his experience in outreach marketing, link building, content marketing, and SEO with readers.