I am blessed with an accent, a left-over from my Australian days. That’s often enough to strike up a conversation and get things going.
But even without the accent, I have trigger words.
Domestic example: In the elevator on my way back from Bruno’s with a peach and four apricots, a gentlemen says “Hot, isn’t it?”.
The standard gambit.
“Humid”, I reply and when I lived in Australia and grew apricots they loved this heat, grew to be the size of peaches”, and away we go!
Start with a small set of trigger-words suited to your business and monitor which evoke the worst (null or dead-end) response. Drop them off the list.
After a new conversation, make a note of how it started. What were the trigger words? Add them to your list.
Now a casual conversation can remain just that, but you are shifting the odds in favor of generating a conversation that leads to a business opportunity.