Don’t Talk to Strangers!

By the time we’re in first grade, we’ve been programmed with hundreds of messages designed to keep us safe.

Don’t touch the stove!

Don’t cross the street without looking!

Don’t talk to strangers!

But now, you have to sell things to strangers, causing you discomfort. Not only must you talk to them, but you also have to get them to buy something from you! It goes against our programming.

Good news: God helps us re-program!

Our programming can be over-written. This is the process described in Romans 12:2 as mind renewal. It says “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Flip the script so you can fully engage with strangers.

Here are some strategies that facilitate productive first-contact conversations. These apply to meeting people in business, at church, at your kids sporting events… anywhere!

  • Ask questions that draw out someone’s passion. My neighbor raises tea roses. He was thrilled to tell me all about them when I asked. Ask any business owner how they got into the business they’re in and you’ll get their story.
  • Create some informal research questions. Ask questions about topics you want to learn about. For example, supply chain has caused problems for many business owners. Ask what this person’s experience has been with shortages. Customize your questions to elicit information that pertains to your product or service.
  • Consider questions that help you qualify someone from “suspect” to “prospect”. In a first conversation, you may suspect this person could buy from you. Be ready to ask questions that uncover if you can help them or not. For example, a roofer that only installs shingle roofing can start with a question about the type of roof someone wants to install. If they say “metal”, they are not a viable prospect.

Be prepared and have fun!

When you’ve prepared questions in advance it is easy to engage the stranger in front of you. Having various questions ready allows you to relax and enjoy the interaction, putting you and those you speak with at ease. You never know the “gold” they may share because you took the initiative to talk with them.


Deb Brown Maher
Deb Brown Maher
Deb is the owner of Deb Brown Sales ( where she lives her passion to help small business owners succeed through improved sales performance. She has over thirty years of experience in all levels of sales leadership, training, and coaching. Her clients boast that she successfully moves them from “stuck” to “productive” by empowering them to change the way they approach sales. She’s leveraged her sales experience to help companies of every size, from start-ups to multinationals. Deb is committed to helping people sell from a position of integrity. Her methods are detailed in her book, Sell Like Jesus: 7 Characteristics of Christ for Ethical Sales which was honored as a finalist in two categories at the “American Book Fest 2020 Book Awards.” A cum laude graduate of Allegheny College, Meadville PA, Deb is a voracious reader who values life-long learning. She especially enjoys learning about sales psychology, sociology, how the brain works, quantum physics, and effective communication strategies. She diligently incorporates what she learns into her ever-evolving training and coaching approach to help people communicate more effectively in any circumstance. Beyond the books she reads, Deb is quick to say that she learns the most from the people she meets, engaging strangers and friends alike in conversations that always leave her enriched. Deb is a devout Christ-follower who enjoys worshiping the Lord with a paint-brush and canvas, painting what the Holy Spirit reveals to her during Christian gatherings ( She is also volunteers doing inner healing prayer and deliverance ministry where she helps people learn to hear the voice of God and develop a deeper relationship with Him.

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