Communication is everything in sales. Balancing personable conversation with underlying messaging as succinctly as possible is a skill that separates the good from the great sales people.
Ultimately, mastery of this skill blends those elements into a fluid conversation, which translates to a more dynamic and efficient sales person. What you don’t want to do is make your thought process too transparent, turning a relaxed conversation into a tense effort to get the other person interested in your company or product.
Luckily there’s always room for anybody to improve.
1. Build solid relationships
Sales are not usually made during the first phone call or meeting. It takes several interactions to inform your would-be clients about who you are and whether you’re the type of person they want to buy from. Making those meetings impactful, whether in person or on the phone, is a result of developing your communication skills. Giving them time to get to know you is invaluable.
2. Clean up your communication
While people certainly expect you to be knowledgeable in sales conversation, they don’t necessarily want to feel like you’re only interested in the sale. While technical language, jargon and acronyms might make perfect sense to you and potentially even to your client, they can make your sales talk feel stilted and calculated. Too many buzzwords can lead to the perception you are untrustworthy.
The underlying principle of a sales pitch is to create a pleasant conversation. It should be clearly thought out, but also bend and move with the responses of the other person. If you’re using technical phrases that no one uses outside the office, you’re only hurting your chances of making a genuine connection.
3. Listen and mold your sales pitch to the person
The best sales pitch should feel like you’re not pitching at all. Instead, let the other person lead the conversation. Offer genuine responses along the way until they organically understand the need for your company, product or service.
Listening more and talking less means sales can’t be achieved by memorizing a 30-second pitch. By doing your due diligence and using research to tailor the conversation around the wants, needs and hang-ups of your potential client, it makes the solution—what you’re selling—seem all the more desirable.
4. Be clear and confident in your approach
Though you don’t want to misrepresent what you’re selling, clients also don’t want to hear you over-explain something. Don’t rely on cliches like your company “values customer service.” Instead, tell them WHY your company has the best customer service. Subjective hyperbole is a great way to display passion and confidence in whatever you’re selling, although it may not be capital-T truthful. Opting for passive descriptors doesn’t win you any points either, and sets you behind your competitors.
5. Ask thoughtful questions
Along with listening, one of the best qualities of a good conversationalist is skillful questioning. Take a real interest in the person you’re speaking with. Most people love to talk about themselves. Asking about their work gives you a better idea of how their company operates. And don’t be afraid to ask a question that’s a little off the beaten path. It’s not about derailing the conversation with a seemingly random question. Asking the client a unique question is going to set you apart in their mind. And it may lead to more nuanced, open dialogue.
As you finish speaking, it’s a good idea to conclude by asking the other person a question. This helps them stay engaged in the conversation and helps them to think more critically and thoughtfully about the subject. It also helps maintain a dialogue rather than one person rambling and the other falling asleep.
6. Understand your clients wants, needs and hesitations
As you’re asking thoughtful questions, listening and directing the conversation intentionally, try to pick up on phrases your client uses to learn about their goals, and reasons they may be skeptical of your product. By remembering these, you can address them later and make your argument all the more specific. By learning their needs, you can highlight the elements of your product that best satisfy what they’re looking for.
7. Always be closing
This is your ultimate goal. But “closing” doesn’t just mean closing the deal. The conversation should always move concisely and intentionally. At no point should you feel as if you’ve lost control of the conversation and it’s simply rambling. Get to the checkpoints in your conversation and then move on to the next phase of the sales talk. As much as you want to build up trust and familiarity, you don’t have all day to lock things down. When it’s time to close the deal, use phrases that put the power in your client’s hands.
“Do I have your permission to move forward?”
“What else can I do to help you make this decision?”
These questions keep the conversation advancing without coming across as demanding or threatening. If played right, it caps a deft sales talk that never felt domineering, but rather easy and relaxed with an undercurrent of concise, clear strategy.