#1 Thorough preparation is everything
If you’re a sales manager wanting to conduct successful sales talks, you should not only be prepared for all conceivable questions regarding your actual product or service portfolio. You also need to extensively research your (potential) customer beforehand. What does the company’s business model look like? What are the customer’s interests and needs? Modern customer relationship management systems deliver a vast pool of information that helps you understand customers better and can be analyzed and visualized using customer journey mapping.
Defining the objective of the sales talk is also recommended. Of course, your initial goal will be to convince the customer and ideally bring about a purchasing decision. However, to do this, it is important to focus on the needs and goals of the customer by taking a customer-centric approach:
- What new knowledge should the customer take away from the talk?
- How should the customer feel afterwards?
By changing the perspective from the sales goal to the customer’s goal, it becomes easier to understand the customer and build a positive rapport that ultimately leads to the customer making a purchasing decision.
#2 Score points by being upbeat and likable
To win over customers, you need to be enthusiastic, confident, and charming. If you’re nervous, bored, or artificially cheerful, the person on the other end of the phone will notice. But even experienced sales professionals can’t brim with enthusiasm all the time. Giving yourself a pep talk is a good way of getting in the right mood. Listening to a motivating song or thinking about your last big sales success will make you feel good, too.
Running an ideal sales talk through your head is also good preparation for going into a phone call full of energy and optimism. It is also important to set aside enough time for the sales talk. If you run out of time to fully explore the customer’s needs, you’ll come across as standoffish, which is an absolute no-go.
#3 Offer the perfect solution to your customer’s problem
As a sales manager, you want to convince your existing and potential customers of your product and its unique features. However, product know-how will be worthless if it doesn’t offer your dialogue partner tangible added value. Customer-oriented sales talks that don’t simply revolve around a product will spark interest. The following is important here:
- Find out how you can help your customer as an industry expert and share your experiences.
- Listen carefully to the challenges that your dialogue partner is facing, ask questions, and develop solution-oriented options together.
- Remember that people think visually. By presenting clear scenarios where the product solves your customers’ problem, you simplify their decision-making process.
#4 Choosing the right words is crucial
To conduct a successful sales talk, you should formulate precise sentences that put the emphasis on the customer. You should avoid using the first person, e.g. “I would like to offer you…”, “I will…”, or “I have…”. Instead, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and highlight clear benefits. Sentences such as
- “You’ll gain…”,
- “You’ll save…”, or
- “You’ll achieve…”
show that you are customer-oriented.
By combining these with adjectives, for example “You’ll save precious time…” or “You’ll achieve valuable goals…”, you’ll additionally tug at your dialogue partner’s emotional heartstrings. Indecisive candidates can be pulled back in the right direction using subtle messages. Something along the lines of “Before you make a decision…” or “Once we’ve come to an agreement…” directs the sales talk back to the decision-making process.
#5 Welcome doubts and don’t be scared of hearing “No!”
If your potential customer expresses doubt during the talk, it is not immediately a negative thing, because it means that he or she hasn’t lost interest, but simply might need more information. Going on the defensive is never the right way to react in such a situation. Instead, you should show your understanding for any doubts and acknowledge them. Even if the concerns are based on incorrect perceptions on the customer’s part, you shouldn’t just shrug them off as ill-founded, but rather counter them using facts.
See things from the customer’s perspective and ask why he or she has reservations. Customers will only rethink any doubts and take your suggestions on board if they feel understood and respected. Does the customer seem completely dismissive? In that case, it is counterproductive to respond in a noncommittal tone, since you will appear insecure.
Sometimes it is wiser to accept a “no”, at least for now, and respond calmly and optimistically. By doing this, you will leave a positive impression and can try again if the situation changes in the future.
#6 Document and follow up the talk
Immediately after the sales talk, it can help to write down relevant details in the CRM system. Was the customer particularly interested in a topic or product? Are changes happening in the customer’s company or business model that could also be relevant for you in the future?
You can take these important points into account for your next steps or readdress them in future emails or calls. To stay in the back of your customer’s mind, you should either already arrange another appointment at the end of the talk or send a friendly email afterwards to thank him or her for the talk, confirm the appointment, or provide additional helpful documents.
#7 Ask for feedback
To develop helpful strategies and continue to conduct other successful sales talks in the future, it is essential to continuously scrutinize and adjust your technique. Listen to the recorded customer talks together with colleagues and then jointly evaluate them so that you can improve yourself on an ongoing basis.
You can directly incorporate the suggestions when preparing upcoming sales talks. Of course, you can also ask communicative customers for feedback following your talks with them.