The first thing people want to do in a sales conversation is talk, and it’s one of the things they should be doing the least. Good sales conversation is less about talking and more about listening. It’s simple – people hate being sold to.
Sales conversation should build an emotional connection and guide a person to the sale. The better your listening skills and the more information you can gather with fewer questions, your sales conversations will be better.
There are several good tricks to have up your sleeve when it comes to better professional conversations, but like any instrument, it takes time to tune, play correctly, and finally master. Read our list of tips and try to bring them into your natural speech patterns.
Talk Less & Listen More
When faced with the goal of making a sale, you may be inclined to show your expertise or think you should be talking more. Customers are tired of being sold to, so they may shut off if they feel like they have no input in the conversation.
When engaging in a good sales conversation, try and follow the 80/20 Rule. This rule means the time you spend talking should only account for 20% of the whole conversation. Your prospect should fill the rest. From here, you listen carefully, pick out the crucial points to follow up on and acknowledge the personal side of the conversation.
Most people are happy to talk about themselves and share parts of their life with you. A more intimate and personal conversation shows the other person has put trust in you. Make sure you’re maintaining that trust, asking good questions, keeping the conversation slow and not cutting off the other person while they’re speaking.
If you want to figure if you’re talking too much or too little, record yourself in the following sales conversation, or have someone else sit in with you to monitor the conversation flow. Talking under the 20% mark can be just as alienating as talking too much, so practice maintaining the balance.
Use Open-Ended Questions To Inspire Conversation
Ideally, you want your prospect to do most of the talking, but people are all different, and you can’t promise a great conversation from everyone who steps in the room with you. While some people can take a question and run with it, others may feel more comfortable answering questions as succinctly as possible.
After having three questions answered within a minute, you may start to sweat. The best way to avoid one-word answers is to use open-ended questions. These are questions that have no simple answer, so even your most stoic or quiet prospects will need to string together a few words in response.
Open-ended questions let the other person fill in the blanks. When they do that, they reveal snippets of their real motivations and ideals. These are the two most important things you can know in a sale conversation. A good group of open-ended questions help show the whole picture so that you can push your sale in all the right areas.
Switching your closed-ended questions to open-ended questions is easier than you may think. Instead of asking, “Is that ok?” or “Do you have any questions?” try “How does that make you feel…?” or “What do you think about that?”. If the answer you get isn’t what you were looking for, a simple “Why” can bring out more of a response.
Build An Emotional Connection
Dull, list-ticking interviews are no fun for anyone. If you hate going down your sales question checklist and getting the same answers, chances are your process isn’t working. A good sales conversation can leave both parties feeling energised and excited about what was discussed. Creating an emotional connection with your sales prospect is the most effective way to make them a customer.
Trust is the foundation of sales success. For a customer to trust you, they must first like you. Give them the chance to open up to you by asking some light, personal questions and share something about yourself.
People buy from people they like, so being cagey and cold is a sure way to send someone to another seller. Focus on being likeable and friendly, and you will see your sales success rate grow.
Let Them Know What May Happen Without Your Help
Depending on the product you’re selling, you want to paint one of two images. The first is what a person can do with your product; the second is what may happen if they don’t. People instinctively assume only the best will happen to them and not account for the worst-case scenario. You can capitalise on that belief by playing into their pursuit for success or reminding them that without your help, things may not be as good as they can be.
It can be more enticing to give positive news, but studies show that negative news triggers a more robust emotional response from people and makes them more likely to take action. So, if you want to encourage action, a drizzle of negative news may sway a prospect into a client.
Show Don’t Tell
If you read one thing in this article, read this point! Showing what your product or service can do is the best way to win over a prospect. If they can see that your product is unique or better than competitors, they’re more inclined to sign on the spot. People are sceptical by nature, so it’s a lot harder to convince someone by telling them about a product. When you show them, they make their mind up instantly.
Take, for example, the seemingly simple Flex Tape Commercial that took the world by storm a few years ago. The video commercials show how adhesive tape can solve a variety of mundane and outlandish problems. The ads went viral online and amassed millions of views.
Another great example is the bulletproof car windows made by the Texas Armoring Corporation. To prove the legitimacy of his product, the business’s CEO, Trent Kimball, sat in one of the vehicles while having live rounds fired at him. While you obviously don’t have to go to this extreme, it shows that putting your product on display does a lot more than talking about it.