Conversational Sales is not a new concept, however it is one that few are employing effectively. Customers come to business seeking information and ideas by way of conversation, not just for someone to recite a product spec sheet to them. Conversational sales is all about education. The most important part to remember is that you are not only educating your customers, you must also educate yourself.
Educating your customers
Many sales calls start with discovery questions asked by the sales rep. They follow those up talking about how great their product or service is to meet the customer’s needs. However, if you only know some basic information from your questionnaire, are you really aware of their needs? How can you determine what will make an impact on your customer until you know what is important to them.
Answer: No. Your potential customers know this too. In Linda Richardson’s Book, Changing the Sales Conversation, she states “Today clients will respond to straight discovery questions and product talk with impatience”. They don’t want to feel like another number being given a script. Engaging in a dialogue will help you build the “know, like and trust” that is crucial in the sales process. Consider switching up your script, instead of discovery, like the one above, try “Thank you for that basic information, Mr. Jones, can you tell me a bit about how you are currently using “X”.” Now, allow Mr. Jones to speak, and actually listen to the conversation.
Taking notes is key, as you will want to recite some of what Mr. Jones said back to him when it’s your turn to speak again.
Continue the conversation in this back-and-forth format until you have all the information you need. Then, you make an informed recommendation on which product or service will be best based upon the client’s needs. Focus on the facts you learned and not just your opinion of why your offering is superior.
“Clients want to be educated, but not about products. They want new perspectives and ideas” (credit: Linda Richardson). As you engage in the conversation with your prospective clients, enlightening them to something they were previously unaware of will open up entirely new doors. If you do not engage in a dialogue and find out what they already know, you aren’t bringing any value to the conversation.
In the busy world of sales, we don’t always take the time to research prospective customers before engaging in a conversation with them. The old school way of sales thinking is that this was a nice thing to do, but not really necessary if you just didn’t have time. That is not the case in today’s market. Before engaging in a sales conversation, you must be do research and be informed on your potential client.
People want to be heard, and know that you are listening to them. This helps to build trust in the relationship that is not only important in the initial sales conversation, but later down the road when they are customers as well. If you have done your research, you can ask informed questions that will help guide the conversation in the right direction.
Move away from the monologue sales pitches and engage your potential customers in a meaningful conversation that you will both benefit from.