According to statistics, only 13% of customers believe a sales representative can understand their needs.
Sales, in simple words, is conversation.
Successful sales conversations lead to a winning sales deal. But ask any sales leader what the most difficult part of their job is, and they agree that it’s sales conversations.
66% of salespersons are considered to be average performers at their job.
If you and your sales team are having trouble warming up and trickling down the sales funnel and wondering how to start a sales conversation, then you are at the right place.
What is a Sales Conversation?
A sales conversation is a conversation between a potential buyer and a sales representative, between two or more people, with the agenda of selling their product or service.
To have an effective sales conversation, your sales team must not only have a strategy in place to lead the call but also undergo sales conversation training.
It is a common myth that exceptional salespersons are born and not made. Sales can be learned. Moreover, not every sales representative is the same and there’s always room for improvement.
Regardless of opting for cold call techniques, social selling strategy, or even email reach outs, focusing on your prospects with dynamic sales scripts and personalisation goes a long way.
How to Start a Sales Conversation
With potential buyers making their decision within minutes, it is imperative to have exceptional conversational selling skills to hold their attention and convince them to buy your product.
One of the most run-of-the-mill conversation starters in a sales call is spearheading the call with a sales pitch. We’ve all been victims of annoying and irrelevant sales messages. In addition, rehearsing a common sales script with every kind of customer is no longer effective too.
Sales representatives need to make a real connection with their buyers; you need to show them that your solution will genuinely solve their problem and not just be interested in pushing a sale.
10 Secrets to Effective Sales Conversations to Build Lasting Relationships
#1 Adopt Smart Product Positioning by Focusing on Features and Benefits
Not every sales call will lead to a successful sale.
Understanding how your product or service will solve a potential buyer’s pain points is vital. Ensure you know what key features and benefits your product has to offer and understand the concept to the T.
When you focus on the benefits and not on features, you are assuring your clients that you truly want to solve their problems beyond just making your sale.
In addition, focusing on benefits will help them tick their checklist against their issue as opposed to iterating the features.
Let’s say you are selling a smartphone - talking about an array of its features will not help the customer visualise them. Instead, talking about how the camera’s capabilities, storage options, and excellent display features with a show and tell kind of demo will definitely aid the sale.
#2 Ask Good Open-Ended Questions
The old-school adage that “the customer is always right” doesn’t hold true anymore.
As sales reps, you are experts in your field. To get the most out of your clients, it is necessary to ask the right kind of questions, especially open-ended ones where the sales conversation flows easily. So, avoid asking dead-end questions that end with “yes” or “no”.
Open-ended conversations not only make the conversation engaging, but they also help you grasp the customer’s requirements. Questions like “What are your objectives?” and “How are you planning on using our product?” can also reveal crucial information about the buyer’s pain point and let you have a sneak peek into their organisation as well.
#3 Stay in Control By Getting the Agenda Right
One of the key drivers to effective sales conversations is articulating a clear agenda of the call. Check with the client if this is okay with them beforehand to avoid roadblocks.
This way, you are in control of your call and accomplish what you want to achieve by the end of the conversation while making the customer feel that, in fact, they are in control of the conversation.
Setting an agenda not only helps you avoid distractions in between the call but also helps you stay focused and sell your product the right way.
Leverage sales talk technologies such as Salesken to set a plan in place by keeping track of important pointers on the dashboard and making use of the technology to assist you in your next sales call.
#4 Educate the Customer On Why You’re Different from Competitors
A customer who has done their research will inevitably bring up your competitor during the sales conversation.
It is imperative to understand that your customer is only trying to weigh in options and gauge what’s best for them. The biggest self-sabotage you can do is by speaking ill of your competitor in such calls.
According to research, whenever you bad mouth someone, your audience puts you in the same category. Do not mudsling your competitors. Instead, show and tell your buyers with definite differentiators and help them perceive their future with you vs your competitor.
This process not only instils trust in your client but also helps you stand out from your competition.
#5 Leverage Data to Sell Your Product
To avoid falling into conversation traps, you need to be prepared for tough queries. This will take a combination of conversational selling skills to perfect, but most importantly, be ready with relevant data to support your statements.
The key to any successful sale is the ability to establish trust between you and your potential client. If you can’t, then you are unlikely to make the sale.
Some ways to establish trust and help your customers come to a decision is by displaying proof of success with the right kind of data and trust factors such as testimonials, case studies, and general data on how your service has genuinely helped a customer.
This establishes proof of trust and helps them kickstart their decision quickly.
#6 Apply Reflective Listening
As sales representatives, we’re the experts of selling our solution to the buyer’s problem. But, the truth is, selling is more than just one-sided talking but more listening.
According to statistics, top performers boast a 46:54 talk-to-listen ratio, meaning they speak less than 50% of the time.
By listening more to your customers and not interrupting their train of thought every chance you get, you will discover valuable information, make stronger connections, and avoid rambling, in turn letting them know that you truly care about solving their problem.
To be a star performer, make the customer the center of your sales conversation.
#7 Connect the Dots with the Customer’s Pain Points
With the right skill of listening, you tend to ask the right kind of questions that reveal the buyer’s pain points and their objectives which help you think from the buyer’s shoes.
As a sales expert, it is easy to check off your box and think that you have all the answers you need, but in reality, you’re only getting started.
Understand the customer’s pain points on all levels to comprehend the business implications of their problem, life implications, and how your service will solve this.
For instance, the potential client may need high-level integrations so the marketing team and the sales team can automate their work rather than spending all their time on manual tasks.
It is vital for you as a sales rep to listen to the buyer closely, jot down their pain points, and connect the dots with your solution to give them answers.
#8 Make Use of Team Selling
With complex accounts comes complex problems.
Top-performing salespeople typically join their CEOs, sales managers, product experts, and other important stakeholders in their sales calls. Team selling helps the potential buyer understand the crux of the issue, and provide them with solutions from the right mix of experts to establish their authority in the conversation.
#9 Personalise, Personalise, & Personalise!
No generic sales script works well for all sale conversations. To be human is to be personal.
In other words, personalise your sales conversation, including both written and cold conversations. Say goodbye to your generic templates and approach each prospect in a personalised way. This not only demonstrates professionalism but also establishes credibility and expertise.
Personalisation may be time-consuming, but it is worth it. Being human and relating to the buyer’s issues is always warmly welcomed.
#10 Create an Organic Conversational Funnel
Before you sell your product, you need to foresee your conversation by creating value in your prospect’s eye.
The best way to demonstrate this is to help them understand your expertise in the field by discussing the right parameters and providing them value with your solution.
Top sales representatives spend more time talking about business and value-related subjects than average performers.
Establish an organic conversational funnel by discussing the possible pain points and outcomes and proving why your solution is the right fit for them.
Subjects in this category include ROI, the buyer’s pain points, timeline and objectives, benefits, and so on.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Sales Conversation
Now that we have established what to do in a successful sales conversation, below are five tips to avoid in a sales conversation.
#1 Talking Too Much and Not Giving the Customer a Chance
Talking too much and not giving the customer a chance to speak is a rookie error. Talking less and listening intently to the customer will help you detect the customer’s intent and unique requirements and iterate accordingly. It is key to a successful sale.
Although it is a good practice to give the best to your customer, overpromising with your solution is another common pitfall to avoid. If you end up talking to a skilled negotiator, they will recognise this mistake almost immediately and potentially exploit it. Know the value of your product, learn how to negotiate about it, and highlight the right benefits.
#3 Not Ready to Face Objections
While it is completely okay to believe in your product and sell it accordingly, objecting to the buyer’s objections about shortcomings comes across as rude.
In typical sales conversations, it is common to face questions and objections about your product. Preparing for these questions beforehand helps you navigate them with ease instead of coming across as defensive or impolite and losing the client altogether.
#4 No Intention to Close the Sale
As a salesperson, you have an agenda to close the sale; every interaction you initiate should reinforce this. Setting up a sales call takes a lot of effort, so when the prospect shows up, make sure you have the agenda for the next call and carry them through the steps. Always close the call with clarity on the next steps, so you are always in touch with the buyer and do not lose the intent to close the sale.
Although these tips sound like a lot to remember, with Salesken’s intuitive features built especially for successful sales conversations, you can scale your agenda to close the deal quicker than expected.
Sales conversation technologies help you keep track of all your agendas through minimal manual work and lets you focus on the right metrics to close the deal as expected. Book a demo today!