Most sales conversations could be improved. Not just a little better, but significantly better. I see too many sellers fall into the same traps:
- You talk too much, leaving the buyer with the impression that you don’t understand their business, industry, or needs.
- You grill the buyer with questions, making them feel like they’re a part of an interrogation.
- You talk too little, letting the buyer control the conversation.
- You’re over eager and the buyer can smell your desperation a mile away.
- You talk about your products and services as if they’re commodities, leading the buyer to buy based on price.
- You’re unprepared and the buyer wonders why they’re wasting their time with you.
- You’re uncomfortable talking about money and the second a price objection comes up, you cave and start discounting.
There are multiple ways to goof up a sales conversation, and most sellers make major mistakes every time they talk with a prospect.
Improve Your Sales Conversations
If you want to improve your sales conversations, pay attention to these seven keys:
1. Build rapport: Before you ask questions to get the buyer to open up or talk about how you can help them, you have to build rapport. All else being equal, people buy from people they like. If you’re likable and focus on relationship building, your sales conversations will go much more smoothly.
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2. Uncover aspirations and afflictions. If you’ve ever read any piece of sales advice, you know you need to ask questions to uncover the prospect’s pain. That’s a given. What most advice doesn’t include is how to harness the power of aspirations. Your job is to not only uncover the prospect’s needs and pains, but it’s to also uncover their aspirations and goals. Get your prospect to open up and share their hopes, dreams, and desires and then show how you can help them achieve their goals.
3. Make the impact clear. If you don’t make the business case, you won’t make the sale. You can do everything else right, but if the prospect doesn’t see the value of your solution (and you’ve got to be very clear with what that value is), they won’t buy it.
4. Paint a picture of the new reality. This goes hand in hand with No. 2 and No. 3. Once you know the prospect’s needs, goals, and the tangible impact of alleviating these pains or attaining their goals, you must paint a picture of what their new world will look like. How will it be better? In your sales conversations, help them visualize the other side and build excitement around it.
5. Balance advocacy and inquiry. Sales conversations require give and take. You have to get the prospect talking so you can fully understand their situation. You also need to take what the prospect says and communicate recommendations based on your expertise to help them see how you can help. In every sales conversation (yes, this includes capabilities presentations and demos), you have to balance how much you talk and how much you listen.
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Continue reading tip No. 6 and No. 7 here.