The first few minutes of a sales conversation are often the most awkward…especially if you’re not quite sure what to say, but they also set the tone for the rest of the interaction, and if you know how, you can actually make it much easier to get a “yes” as the conversation wraps up. So how to do you do it?
Start out by establishing challenges and objectives
I’m sure you’ve been told that you need to establish your potential customer’s challenges early on in the conversation. And you definitely should! This will help you build rapport, give you a sense of your customer’s map, and help you deliver a tailored pitch. But don’t just find out about their problems and then make a recommendation based on how you would solve it — ask about their objectives. This gives you an end point to direct the rest of the conversation towards.
Then deliver targeted case studies
Once you know your potential customer’s objectives (and of course, established rapport and done all the other things you need to do at the beginning of a sales call), you can start to talk to them about how you can help. One of the best ways to do this is with targeted case studies — examples of times where you were able to help your customers overcome similar challenges and achieve similar objectives. Doing this shows your potential customer that you were actually listening to them, you get their problem, and you have the proven expertise to solve it.
Focus, focus, focus
One caveat here: make sure you’re only focusing on what’s important to the person you’re talking to now. Don’t try to force a connection between their situation and another customer’s just to make a case study, and when you give your examples, make sure you tailor the way you talk about each one to fit their current challenges and objectives, losing or including details accordingly.
And work towards their end goal, at their pace
Finally, show them how you can take them from where they are now to where they want to be, at a pace and in a way that works for them. Be very aware of their action filters and map as you’re doing this — you don’t want to overwhelm a big ideas person with a lot of details, or have a carrot person shut down on you because you focus on the stick too much. And remember, while you can have a very effective sales call that doesn’t end in a sale. You don’t have to always be closing, but you do need to be leading.
Until next time