We don't need to tell you how important successful sales conversations are for your business. Without sales conversations, you have no sales, and without sales, your business cannot exist. However, conducting a successful sales conversation is a skill in itself. You want to convince the customer in a friendly manner about your product or service without appearing too pushy. This can be quite challenging. The ideal sales conversation varies from one conversation to another, but each sales conversation goes through the same phases. In this article, you will learn about these phases and how to turn them into a successful conversation.
Each sales conversation consists of five components: preparation, opening/attention phase, inventory, presentation, and closure. Within these four parts, you can distinguish even more phases. For example, preparation involves making the appointment and gathering all relevant information. And between inventory and closure, making an offer is part of the process. Often, the customer needs some time to think or you need to address objections before concluding the conversation. This way, we identify eight different phases in a sales conversation:
We will now tell you what you can roughly expect from each phase of the sales conversation.
Before you can talk to a potential customer, you need an appointment. Therefore, every sales conversation begins with making this appointment. Often, this happens over the phone. In this conversation, you don't want to sell your product or service yet, but you try to stimulate interest. Immediately let the potential customer know that you are willing to think along. You can do this, for example, by offering to have the conversation at their location. It's nice if you can make an appointment with a qualified lead. If you have a good marketing and sales funnel, only the leads who are genuinely interested end up with you as a seller. Often, they have already made acquaintance with the company in an accessible way, giving you a good starting point. A brief sales pitch is practical to use during the appointment-making process.
This phase is one of the most crucial parts of the entire sales conversation. Proper preparation is half the battle here. Ensure that you have all the necessary knowledge so that you won't be surprised during the conversation. You need to know exactly what you're selling and the strengths and weaknesses of it. Understand your competition and know where your company stands in the market. Also, conduct thorough research on your potential customer. Dive into the organization and know who you'll be sitting with at the table. This information will guide how you approach the sales conversation later.
A first impression is crucial. Therefore, paying attention to the opening of the sales conversation is essential. Start the conversation informally and show interest in your conversation partner. Perhaps you have common ground in terms of hobbies or other interests. If you've executed the previous phase well, you'll know exactly who is sitting across from you, making this introduction easier.
After the initial introduction, it's time for the formal part of the conversation. Now, you want to map out the customer's needs. Achieve this by asking targeted open-ended questions. Listen attentively to what your conversation partner is saying and observe the non-verbal signals they are giving. Pay attention to your own attitude and how you respond to the customer. Try to uncover both the rational and emotional buying motives in this phase, which can be motives of your conversation partner or the company.
Making an offer is, of course, the core of a sales conversation. However, timing is crucial in this phase. If you're too early with the offer, the potential customer may say 'no.' If you're too late, the customer might have walked away or lost interest. Make your offer when you feel you truly understand the customer's needs and how your product and/or service solves them.
After presenting your arguments well and bringing the customer into a "yes rhythm," there is a chance that they will say 'yes' right after your offer. Often, the customer needs some time to consider the offer and may come up with objections or questions. Due to your thorough preparation, you know exactly how to counter these objections. Emphasize the positive aspects of your product and/or service once again and focus on the arguments and consequences that matter to the other person.
After phase 6, the customer is essentially ready to give the go-ahead. However, you'll need to ask for it. If you don't ask, there's a high chance that the customer won't make a purchase. Therefore, always ask for the commitment. If the customer doesn't accept the offer or needs more time to think, accept it positively and exit the conversation on a positive note. Always make an appointment for the next steps. Avoid leaving any loose ends. This leaves a good impression and increases the likelihood that the customer may give you the go-ahead at a later time.
Technically, the sales conversation is over after phase 7. However, aftercare is also an essential part of a successful sales conversation. Providing good aftercare to customers builds a valuable and meaningful relationship with them. This makes them more loyal and ensures they remain customers for a longer time. Check in after a few days to see if everything is satisfactory and listen to any feedback. This is good for relationship management and ensures continuous development for both you as a seller and the organization.
During the preparation of a sales conversation, you lay the foundation for a successful discussion. Without proper preparation, the conversation is likely to be much less successful. Therefore, it's essential not to underestimate the importance of preparation.
During the preparation for the sales conversation, you focus on several different aspects. It's important to know who you will be sitting with at the table. What is the role of this person within the company? Are they authorized to make decisions directly? And what are the starting points for initiating a conversation?
In addition to your direct conversation partner, you also delve into the company itself. Where does the company stand in the market, and what are any potential pain points you can address? Study the website, any brochures, and gather information about the industry. Some of this information may already be available, for example, in a sales plan. Organize the information you have and identify where you need to supplement information. Don't forget to look at the customer history as well.
Now that you know who you'll be facing, it's important to clarify the purpose of the conversation. What do you want to achieve with the conversation, and when will you be satisfied? Ask open-ended questions to help you achieve your goal.
After completing all this preparation, you are ready to go to the meeting. Ensure you have all the necessary materials, such as documentation, with you. Leave on time and know exactly where you need to be. This way, you'll arrive calmly at the sales conversation and start the discussion positively.
Conducting a sales conversation involves a lot. We'll give you a few tips and examples to make your conversations more successful.
During a sales conversation, it's essential to take the lead immediately. This doesn't mean you should dominate your conversation partner, but rather that you guide the conversation. Position yourself as an expert and demonstrate that you know what you're talking about. Be yourself and come across as open, honest, and trustworthy. Listen to what your conversation partner has to say and respond with the right questions. Occasionally summarize to ensure mutual understanding. This gives the potential customer the feeling of being seen and that they can trust you.
A large part of our communication doesn't happen through words but through non-verbal cues. By being aware of this, you can respond accordingly. Non-verbal communication is important for both your conversation partner and yourself. Pay attention to your posture, facial expression, and intonation, ensuring they convey calmness and confidence. Also, observe how the customer reacts. Are they nodding in agreement, or do they maintain a critical expression? Paying attention to this can help you better tailor your conversation.
You'll be listening a lot during a sales conversation to understand your conversation partner and how to best promote your product or service. However, don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions. Always try to get to the core of the matter and don't settle for less. If someone is unsure about your offer, try to find out why and gain insight into what needs to happen for a successful deal. This is how you often conclude conversations successfully.
Starting a sales conversation preferably occurs informally. By breaking the ice, you gain favor, and the formal part of the conversation proceeds more smoothly. But what are good icebreakers during a sales conversation? We'll provide you with a few examples.
Finding a good icebreaker is a matter of thorough research. During your preparation, you have looked up who you'll be sitting across from. It's important to make the icebreaker personal. This gives your conversation partner the feeling that you're not just there to sell something to their company but that you genuinely show interest in them. Find something you have in common. It could be a sports team, a shared hobby, or perhaps both having young children or enjoying long walks in nature. There's always something you can use as an icebreaker.
If, after this explanation, you still find it challenging to conduct a successful sales conversation, feel free to get in touch with one of our sales experts. We are more than happy to assist you in discovering and enhancing your sales talents. This way, your sales conversations will become increasingly better and more successful!