Conversation Starters to Deepen Your Customer Relationships

November 18, 2020 | ( By Lee Potts | Vice President / Senior Credit Officer ) | BusinessFocus-Business Focus


Here we are with the holiday season nearly on our doorstep! This year has been a mixed bag of bright spots and challenges as you know. Hopefully there has been several things in your business and personal life for which to be thankful this year! While there may have been some stressful times as there is when running any business, we thought this month’s article shared some good points to consider in how business owners continue to interact with employees, coworkers, vendors, and other associates to keep a positive focus regardless of what might be going on in the world that can impact any business.

Best Regards, 


Keith Knudsen 





Conversation Starters to Deepen Your Customer Relationships

By Lee Potts |Vice President / Senior Credit Officer

Business owners wear many hats each day. There are various tasks of keeping product moving, keeping employees going where needed or doing what is needed, cultivating relationships with customers, keeping books, and the list goes on. Things can sometimes stack up to where it becomes difficult to deepen relationships with everyone with whom you associate inside and outside of the business. Some call it the “daily whirlwind.” This month we came across an article on authored by Marcel Schwantes entitled, “10 Questions the Most Interesting Leaders Will Ask to Start Great Conversations.” As a side note, we encourage you to browse the website as it has a lot of great business related articles.

Schwantes poses some questions business leaders should ask to deepen relationships, keep others engaged, and, as the author says, simply be more interested and interesting. This all happens through conversations, and as Schwantes says, getting those conversations off to a great start.

Before asking engaging questions, there are several pointers to work on when it comes to the delivery of certain questions and conversation starters.


  • Be brief and to the point
  • Keep a lively tempo to the conversation
  • Show your emotions
  • Don’t speak monotone (vary pitch and tone)
  • Show good body language. Smile, laugh, engaging posture, etc.


Now for the questions that Schwantes suggests. The entire premise of asking questions that get conversations off to a great start and deepen relationships is to make the conversation about the other person. This will enable deeper engagement on the part of the other person, and enable them to learn more about you as well, as the conversation progresses.


1.) What’s your story?
2.) What absolutely excites you right now?
3.) What makes you smile?
4.) What makes you get up in the morning?
5.) What is your reason for existing? (your “why”?)
6.) What is the most important thing I should know about you?
7.) What is the driving force in your life?
8.) What is one of your most defining moments in your life?
9.) What is the best thing that has happened to you this year?
10.) When is the last time you failed spectacularly at something?



These 10 questions are presented, but it is easy to see where Schwantes is going with these. As you look over these questions, if you are like me, more questions of a similar nature quickly come to mind. Taking the time to strike up conversations with employees, partners, vendors, customers, etc is a good investment to deepening relationships, which we know are an important part of business. These types of conversations put the other person in what we have heard some business people refer to as the “ok chair.” In other words, the other person is put at ease and encouraged to tell their story, and again, the conversation becomes about them. A business owner or leader can then quickly learn things like what makes employees “tick”, gain insights of customer needs that can be further met, and many other things.

We encourage you to try this regularly in your business and see what positive results are likely to come about! From all of us at Security Bank, we wish you a safe, happy, and productive upcoming holiday season.