If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, regardless of your title, you’ve likely been in engaged in a sales conversation. Whether you were actually presenting a solution and asking for money, influencing your employees or negotiating with a vendor, these are all sales situations.
There are three things that you can implement in your business immediately that will start to improve your sales conversations, your relationships and the trajectory of your business.
There is a common misconception that selling is about talking, persuading and convincing. When done right, sales is really about listening. It’s about listening to and understanding the person that you are working with.
The most important part is to make sure you’re not listening with the intent to respond. Rather, genuinely listen to hear and understand the other person’s point of view.
Once you stop thinking about your response, you will start to hear how the other person is feeling, where they’re coming from and how the situation is impacting them. Understanding these things are so important when entering into a working relationship with someone and being able to deliver upon your promises.
People don’t only want to feel heard; they also want to feel understood. Oftentimes, when interacting with others, we start to solve their problem right away. In a sales conversation, there is no better opportunity than one where the person you’re talking to has a problem that you can easily solve.
Before you start figuring out to how to solve their problem, giving your advice or pitching your solution, you need to really understand where the person is at, what the challenge is and what it means to them to solve it.
The most important thing here is that you can’t fake this. Your interest and concern has to be genuine for someone to connect with you.
Once you understand these things, you’re well on your way to building trust and a relationship — which are key to entering into a business relationship.
Once you’ve listened to the person’s concerns and shown them that you understand their situation, you get the opportunity to show them how you can help them. Oftentimes, we get so excited that it’s our opportunity to talk, that we just talk and talk and talk — without gauging interest, checking in with our prospect and getting buy-in.
When you’re sharing an idea with someone, you can say something like, “Does that make sense?” or “Are you with me on this?” You want to take the person’s “temperature” from time to time to make sure that they understand what you’re saying and that they’re listening closely.
It’s important to make eye contact when you’re doing this to make sure the person isn’t just nodding to agree with you, but to be sure that they are truly engaged in the conversation and hearing you!
Asking questions and getting buy-in while you talk allows you to easily transition to asking for the sale. It always allows you to get some objections out of the way early on. It’s always a good sign when someone is asking clarifying questions or wants you to further explain something—it means they’re interested and paying attention.
Put steps into action
While these three tips seem simple, when you really start taking notice of how much more time you spend preparing what you’re trying to say than listening, you’ll see why your sales conversations aren’t converting at the rate you’d like them to be.
By listening to your prospect, showing genuine empathy and getting buy-in along the way, starting a business relationship is a natural progression rather than an event.