Written By Dr Laide Okubena
What is a Sales Conversation?
A sales conversation is simply a conversation between a potential buyer and a seller that has the objective of leading the prospect to purchase a product or service down the line.
Simple, right? But how much thought do you actually put into how your sellers start a conversation with a prospective client? Do they research the prospective client before reaching out to them? Or do they just wing the conversation?
How to Start a Sales Conversation
How you start the sales conversation is important, whether it’s a cold call, an email or LinkedIn message, or a sales video. Potential buyers will decide whether they want to continue reading or listening to you in a matter of seconds.
A sales conversation should never start with a sales pitch. We’ve all received those annoying pitches right off the bat when we accept a new connection on LinkedIn. The fact is, most of us would ignore or delete those messages right away.
Reciting a rehearsed script of the product you are selling with a generic call to action is no longer effective. All you are achieving with this approach is overwhelming the buyer and demanding a commitment, neither of which are positive strategies to secure a new client and sale.
Sellers need to make a real connection with their buyers. They need to prove that they intend to bring solutions to problems and challenges that the prospect is experiencing, and not just interested in pushing a sale.
But how can you achieve this in a sales conversation? You are already limited with time and need to grab the attention of the prospect immediately. How do you also focus on making a connection?
Easy. You just need to use the PVC sales methodology and include Personalization, Value, and a relevant Call-to-action.
Examples of Good Sales Conversation Starters
Using the PVC sales methodology described above is a great way to start sales conversations, no matter the medium ensure seeking conversations through social media, text messages, and videos –not just the phone.
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If you are doing cold calling on the phone , make sure you are using ’ cold calling scripts are highly personalized to the individual or the buyer persona you are trying to talk.
Now, let’s look at some examples of good sales conversation starters and why they work.
1. “I have done some initial research and noticed that your company…”
This conversation starter establishes that the sellers made an effort to read about the customer’s company.
finding 3 things in 3 minutes about a prospect by looking at their LinkedIn profile. Those three things can then be used to personalize the sales message.
For some expert tips on how every salesperson should approach their ideal prospect and how to use personalization and storytelling to create sales engagement.
2. “Can you tell me about some of your company’s plans for the year?”
Once again, you start by showing an interest in the company and are not just rushing to push a sale. This is also a broad question, which opens up the conversation and gives you a chance to get more valuable information that might help drive your value proposition. Once the customer opens up about their needs and problems they are facing, you have an opportunity to introduce your product or service as the solution.
3. “We have worked with similar clients in your industry and they experienced the following problems (list the problems). Have you experienced something similar?”
This opener establishes some credibility. It also shows the potential customer that you are knowledgeable about their field and some of the experiences they may be facing. This open-ended question will also lead them to consider if they are experiencing similar problems and how you can help resolve them.
Importance of Sales Conversations in Social Selling
Social selling is about starting more sales conversations and expanding existing relationships. Salespeople can use social media platforms to find, engage and connect with prospects to turn those connections into sales conversations.
Don’t just send your generic sales pitch to the potential customer through a LinkedIn connection request. Do some research before making contact and proceeding with social selling strategies.
Start the conversation by making contact through following and liking the prospect’s LinkedIn profile and make sure that you interact with some of their posts.
The best way to interact is by leaving a comment on a post or blog. Make sure that your comment is personalized and offers value, and isn’t a generic ‘good post’ kind of comment.
During your research of the company’s social media, you may even encounter some issues they are facing. This can in turn open the door for you to reach out and establish a conversation.
Tips for Improving Sales Conversations
Prepare for the Conversation
A secret that all sales professionals know is to do some research on the company or client you will be approaching. After all, they will have to convince the prospect why they need to buy their product/service. And the best way to do this is by convincing them that your product will provide value to them.
Don’t underestimate the power of small talk. Before delivering the pitch during the conversation, sellers should first build rapport with the customer.
Building rapport with a potential buyer means that once they have committed to a purchase, the chances are they will be more likely to return to your sellers for future purchases as there is already a relationship established.
Clarify the Impact
Before a customer even considers a product or service, a seller has to clarify the value it will bring to their company. Even if the salesperson has done some research and established a great rapport with the customer, if they cannot see what value you can bring to their business, the deal will not close.
Use Questions to Keep Buyer Interest
Sellers should not be afraid to ask questions during the conversation or even start the discussion with a question. It is important that the customer feels that their thoughts and opinions also have value.
How to Lead Effective Sales Conversations
Many conversations fail because the seller talks too much and doesn’t give the prospect a chance to communicate their needs and desires. Other discussions fail because the seller talks too little and depends on the customer to keep the conversation going without adding value and expertise to the pitch.
Research has shown a 400% increase in contact rates when sales reps have more media types. These can be introductory videos, brochures, and live chat options (managed by the live chat outsourcing team) so that the customers can get more information quickly and decide to buy.
Leading effective sales conversations that are buyer-centric will increase the conversions and build rapport and the possibility of a returning customer. Implementing a few of the tips mentioned above into your strategy will show an increase in conversions and therefore more revenue.
Question of the Day.
Are you Ready to Start More Sales Conversations?
This article outlines the importance of having an effective sales strategy in place that focuses on successful sales conversations. Whether you reach out to customers in person, over the phone, or on social media, you need to make sure that you have prepared for the conversation. If you keep the customer in mind, ask relevant questions, and offer valuable solutions to their problems, you will be sure to have much more success in modern sales.
Thanks for your attention and please enjoy your day.
Dr Laide Okubena