Way To Go!
You are someone clearly committed to making the most of every conversation and we applaud your dedication to excellence!
Access the 7 Simple Steps Below and ... Consider Taking Your Sales Conversations Skills to the Next Level with the 4-Part Digital Audio Training Program
1. Create a Great First Impression
You've probably heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Did you know that many experts say that the first impression is made in the first 7 seconds of a conversation? And, get this -- what happens in those 7 seconds often has little to do with what we say and instead is about what we convey in our physical appearance and body language. So be sure to:
- Smile – whether in person or on the telephone, a smile conveys warmth and welcome in your voice and in your body.
- Extend a firm hand – your handshake displays confidence, be sure to show it with a firm grip.
1. Get To The Point
After you exchange pleasantries, get to the point. Be direct. When you get to the point you show that you respect the other person’s time. Here’s an example of how to start a sales presentation conversation:
“When we talked last week you told me you had two immediate concerns: 1) you’re concerned that your merchant services costs are too high and, 2) you’re dissatisfied with the customer service in resolving problems because it ultimately causes irritation to your customers. You said you are worried about losing business over it.”
Remind the potential client why they wanted to talk to you in the first place. Put the challenge they’re facing on the table right away. Then, give them an idea what you want to do next:
“I’d like to recommend 2 things. First let’s review your costs and compare them to the pricing we’re offering and second, let’s take a look at the customer service options that will keep you happy and your customers coming back. Then we’ll determine next steps, if any. Does that work for you?”
3. Be a Good Listener
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them proportionally. One of the best ways to be good at conversation is to listen. This indicates you’re interested and that in turn, makes it more likely that they’ll show interest in you. Give them your undivided attention. Stay in the moment instead of planning what you’ll say next.
Use the “4-Second Rule” -- When the other person stops talking, COUNT TO 4 before you speak. This makes it more likely the other person finished their thought. You’ll ensure you won’t be interrupting them, which is an easy way to earn respect. See “It’s Just a Conversation” for specific details on using the 4-Second Rule and when you absolutely do NOT want to use it so it doesn’t derail your success.
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions ignites conversation, confirms understanding, develops ideas and engages others. Ask questions to show your interest, probe for more information and to allow the other person to tell you what they know. Let the other person look good.
The questions that give you the most information are open-ended questions. These questions invite more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
Start your sentence with: How, What, Where, When, and Who. Remember that ‘Why’ can put people on the defensive – use it sparingly or better yet, instead ask, “What made you do it that way?” instead of, “Why did you do it that way?” Believe it or not, that one little ‘Why,’ can change the energy of your conversation.
In addition to open-ended questions beginning with How, What, Where, When, Who, probe for more information with these open-ended questions and responses:
- Tell me more...
- Oh, Really...
- Then what…?
- What else?
- Uh-huh (with a head nod)
5. Add Value
Trusted leadership authority and best-selling author, John Maxwell says,
“To add value to others, you must first value others.”
This is the first commandment of business. To make a positive difference for other people, you must value them. And that’s exactly what you do with your products and services – you make a big difference, you solve their challenges and you add value.
Go the extra mile – those who do are EXTRA-ordinary! Look for ways to surprise them. Be on the lookout for articles, stories and information of interest you can share. Listen for what they need outside of what you offer. Do they need a new dispatcher, administrative assistant or delivery person? Perhaps you know someone you can recommend. Is their copy machine giving them trouble. Refer them to your expert repair company. Do they collect sports memorabilia? What are their hobbies? Consider ways to show them you appreciate them and their business. Think outside the proverbial box and you’ll stand out from everyone else
6. Be Persistent, Patiently Polite and Professional
Know this from the first moment you make contact – you will have to follow up. Be clear and let the other person know that you’ll follow up and when. Say something like, “It was great to talk with you about resolving your company’s customer service concerns. I’ll check into the things we talked about and will call you on Tuesday. Which is better, noon or 4PM?” And then be on time.
If they aren’t available at that time, call back. If they don’t return your calls, see “The Fortune is in the Follow Up” in It’s Just a Conversation for specific details on how long to wait, what to say in your voice mails and how to move them to want to call you back. Keep following up. The key is to be persistent, patiently polite and professional.
7. Ask for What You Want
Be clear and direct. Sometimes people beat around the bush because they’re uncomfortable asking for the sale, asking for help or support, asking to be paid, or asking for what they want. Many times it’s the fear of rejection that stops us from being direct. Consider this – when someone says ‘No,’ nothing has changed from the time before you asked. You have not changed. It did not wound you. You’re still the same wonderful you, smart, confident person you were before. They said no for THEIR reasons. ‘No’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘No, not ever.’ You may need to provide more information, explain something not understood or simply ask later when the time is better for them.