Productive conversations are so important to sales, but many reps don’t know how to have them. Effective communication requires some thought and effort but will pay off in the long run with increased trust, rapport and sales. “Sales conversations aren't always straightforward, and your ability to nail one rests on a few key elements that aren't necessarily obvious,” writes HubSpot’s Jay Fuchs. His list of these “key” elements will help reps learn just what makes productive conversations and how to put them into practice.
- Know their pain points
- Reveal value
- Project authority
- Keep it conversational, comfortable
Productive conversations require research, thought
Read on for just four of the seven aspects that Fuchs discusses. Remember, it’s a combination of all these elements that lead to productive conversations; reps shouldn’t cherry-pick when it comes to these!
Know their pain points. This element goes hand-in-hand with research (one of the other necessary aspects noted by Fuchs). Fully understanding your prospects’ pain points is necessary preparation for your conversations. By having a clear grasp of what’s challenging them, you can effectively craft a dialogue that sheds even more light on how you can help. This preparation can give your talks a boost in the right direction, and if you aren’t sure how to start, Fuchs has some suggestions. “Components of your research relating to factors like a company's industry, scale, market position, competitive landscape, current solutions leveraged, and performance should be very telling into the kinds of problems it might be dealing with,” he suggests.
Reveal value. Gone are the days when salespeople would rattle off features of their product. Today’s buyers want to know what’s in it for them, and they want to know as soon as possible. Value is imperative to productive conversations. “What you need is a value proposition and a value statement that explains fully how you help others, how they win, how you serve in terms of the customer, and how that leads to loyal customers and referrals. And a mission statement that matches it,” explains Jeffrey Gitomer in a Media Sales Today post. Integrating this into your dialogue leads to productive conversations that move the sales process forward. “Ultimately, your prospects won't care about your solution's features if you can't show how applying those features can improve their companies' operations,” Fuchs writes.
Be mindful of your tone and mood
Project authority. It’s important that the prospect views you as an authority who can provide insight, knowledge and guidance. But Fuchs warns against coming across as dominating. Productive conversations require a driver (the rep), but the journey also includes others (the prospect(s). Keep this in mind when conversing; you can be assertive but also mindful of sharing the floor with the prospect. Approach these conversations as a leader and a collaborator. As Fuchs explains, “Hear them out, and use your expertise and experience to offer viable, relevant answers to their questions as they come up…Both parties have a stake in the conversation, so make sure there's some give and take.”
Keep it conversational, comfortable. Just because you’re discussing business doesn’t mean you need to leave out warmth and personality. “Prospects want to know you care about their business," Denise Gibson, director of Admall sales, explains. "They can hear passion in your voice. You have to believe in what you are selling." Productive conversations include valuable, important business information, as well as friendly back-and-forth, unscripted remarks and humor. “Prospects are most inclined to buy when they're comfortable,” Fuchs adds. “Always keep that in mind when conducting your sales conversations, and tailor your tone, language, and general attitude to put them at ease.”
Keep the prospect top of mind
Productive conversations are driven by the salesperson’s interest in the prospect and their business. The drive to find a solution for the prospect, and the necessary elements Fuchs discusses, will lead to fruitful, valuable conversations that get results.
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