Sales conversations present opportunity. It’s important that sellers know how to prolong those conversations so they lead to a relationship. But doing so can be easier said than done. Whether it’s a casual chat with a new acquaintance or an in-depth discussion with a prospect, your discussions matter; don’t let them end prematurely.
3 tips to keep your sales conversations going
Writing for Hubspot, Tristen Taylor shares how sellers can employ tactics to make sure they don’t let good discussions fizzle out. And most importantly, how to ensure what they talk about continues to be valuable to everyone.
Her first suggestion is to lean into small talk. Don’t be afraid to talk about non-work topics, especially if it’s one of the first conversations you’ve had with the person. As Taylor writes, “Diving into the sale at the top of your conversation can come off as pushy. Instead, you're better off greeting them and starting the conversation with a point of relatability, like small talk. This type of talk can be simple, harmless topics,” and she suggests:
- Recent entertainment, such as sporting events or movies
- Recommendations for local attractions or places of interest
- Inquiries into how they came into their career
- Asking about hobbies and other interests
And Taylor isn’t the only professional pushing small talk in sales. Gong.io reports that basic small-talk topics, like an alma mater, can be efficient rapport builders. They help build a connection between the buyer and the other person. In their words, think of small talk as the “discovery for rapport building.” These small superficial chats can pave the way for deeper sales conversations down the road.
If you aren’t confident in your basic small-talk skills, check out SalesFuel’s past advice here. And remember, keep it small. Avoid any sensitive topics and invasive questions.
Ask open-ended questions
As a seller, you should already be familiar with these types of questions. They not only keep a dialogue going, but also help you learn about the other person. And you’re showing genuine interest in them, which is important to buyers who want to be seen as more than a potential sale.
“As you get to know who you're talking to,” Taylor suggests, ”let them guide the story-telling and encourage them to go more in-depth with questions like:
- Tell me more about…
- Why do you feel this way?
- How did you come to this conclusion?”
SalesFuel also has suggestions for open-ended questions that will nurture deeper dialogue and keep it going.
Make sure to listen
And remember that listening is just as important as asking. Engaging in active listening is a must; there’s no point in prolonging sales conversations if you don’t retain the information you hear. Active listening is an increasingly important soft skill for sellers and should be practiced every time they engage with others. While it’s a skill that may not come naturally, it can be improved. Taylor makes a few suggestions to get started:
- “Approach each dialogue with a goal to learn something.
- Let the other speaker talk and make sure to fully understand what they’re saying.
- Nod your head or signify that you comprehend or follow the conversation.
- Listen to the words of the speaker and encourage them to tell you more.”
Not only will you be embracing the opportunity to hear and learn, but also demonstrating once again your interest in the other person. They’ll feel valued, which in turn, encourages them to keep that sales conversation going. As SalesFuel's Tim Londergan points out, “People who listen attentively make better first impressions, increase credibility, and gain the respect of their associates in all walks of life.”
Don’t let sales conversations fade out, leaving you with a missed opportunity for so much more. Employing techniques to keep the dialogue going can lead to so many benefits for you and the other person. Put these small suggestions into practice and see where your next conversation leads.
Photo by iPrice Group
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