If you’ve ever read a transcript of an average conversation, you know that it’s often a jumble of words that bounces all over the place.
I wish I could say that this is different for sales conversations, but very often, it’s not.
From endless hours of observing top sales producers over the past 15 years (while conducting systematic Top-Producer Analyses), here’s what I see the best do:
- Establish a call or conversation objective –including the expected outcomes of the conversation. Ensure these outcomes have value to the buyer you’re speaking with, not just you.
- Establish a backup objective in case something prevents you from achieving the primary objective.
- Create a plan to get to those outcomes. What questions will you ask and what do you intend to learn? Assuming you learn what you anticipate, what insights or valuable information might you be able to share in return?
- At the beginning of the dialogue, state your intent and plan clearly, share the value you believe your plan will offer, and ask for your buyer’s input. Get agreement to the plan or alter it slightly, based on your buyer’s hope for the meeting and outcomes.
- Finally, stay single-threaded during the conversation, developing each idea to its fullest before moving on. Don’t bounce around, but structure the conversation logically so it builds and culminates in a deep, mutual understanding.
For execution, remember that people tend to get distracted and veer off-track. If you’re asking about Topic A, and in her answer, your buyer also mentions something about Topic B, make a note of that info and ask to come back to it, but return to following your path to understanding Topic A.
Whatever your sales methodology, follow it. Some methodologies recommend getting the What and Why and then Priorities.
Others recommend a Situational Analysis; others encourage documenting Point A (the current state) and Point B (the desired future state) with consequences of inaction and positive action outcomes, etc. Stay true to your methodology and follow it to take the train of thought and conversation to its conclusion.
Finish one thought with good notes (or a recording) and then move to the next. Don’t simply ask surface level questions.
Peel the onion to truly understand your buyer’s situation and point of view more deeply than others ever will. While you’re doing this, ensure you listen, attend, and take good notes about the ancillary topics that arise so you can come back to them.
Structuring your sales conversation will yield higher results as you will clearly get to the heart of matters instead of bouncing around topics without focus.
This advice, when well-followed, will yield a wealth of information and differentiate you from at least 80% of your competitors.
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