In a recent article, I wrote that marketing and sales strategies come and go, for various reasons. I stand firm on that statement. But what I do also firmly believe in is the fact that, ultimately, the conversation that you have with your prospective client is the most important factor in any business development, growth or selling strategy. It has to be because this is where we find an emotional connection and establish a relationship based on a commonality of need, desire, and belief that together we can tackle what’s out there to move on, get done, solve.
Yet for many the idea of having a sales conversation will stop them cold. They would rather leave it to someone else, maybe a professional salesman, or count on the vagaries of social media postings or, possibly the worst case, decide that selling isn’t for them so they just move on to another opportunity that doesn’t require them to do it.
Do you think you have great conversations with prospects but fail to convert them into clients?
Do you experience anxiety and become uncomfortable asking people to work with you?
Will you often not even reach the point of presenting what you have to offer?
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions then I have to remind you of two things. One, you are not alone. So many business owners struggle with this even if they don’t say so. Two, it’s possible to change up your sales conversations so much that you won’t be answering questions like those above with a ‘yes’ but instead confidently saying, “Nope, that’s not an issue for me.”
As a business owner, however, it can be devastating if we can’t find a way to break through or get past what hinders a good sales conversation. Too much time is spent wondering why our marketing falls flat when it comes time to have that ‘sales conversation.’ Sure it could be an issue of price, timing, or that the product offered may not speak enough to the results sought by our prospects. Or is it often that we can’t get ourselves to just ask for the business? The end result is the same – the sale is lost.
Stop wondering why. Start working instead on how to get your prospects to understand and believe that what you’re offering is exactly what they want right now because it solves their problem. Their conviction that you have their answer will become so great they will move – often in one conversation – from inquisitive prospect to committed client. How? There are 4 key steps you need to take to put a sure-fire approach into play that will continuously serve you in closing your sales conversations with a signed contract and money in the bank.
Adopt a Service Perspective
Being successful at selling may seem to come only after you have some serious internal ‘talks’ with yourself or adopting a ‘do or die’ attitude (no betting allowed!). But this needn’t be a struggle. You don’t have to march into sales conversations with grim determination to get through it. Instead, it should be something that you look forward to because it offers a chance to reach out and help people through your services and products. If you believe that you are acting in service to others, talking about how you can do business with a company will become so much easier, and it will likely be even better received, making you feel like a valuable resource and not someone just there to get a sale.
Believe in Your Value
If you question whether you should be contacting someone about a possible engagement or product, you will appear anxious, nervous or awkward. Others will hear or see this and be less apt to listen to you or engage in longer discussions. Lack of confidence or hesitancy is pretty much a death knell for any sales conversation.
So, what to do to overcome emotional uncertainties? I like to tell my clients that it’s time to step into your value. We have a lot to offer others and it’s critical to sales success that we believe that the value brought to our prospective clients is so great that they could resolve staffing or operational issues, accelerate their business growth, skyrocket their revenue, etc.
Consider others that you have done business with and the outcomes you have achieved with them and build these results into any sales conversation that you have. This provides you confidence and gives your future client assurance that what you offer is credible and right for them.
Be An Influential Leader
If you have a service mindset and the belief that you have something that others not only want but will come to see that they absolutely need, you have positioned yourself to enter any sales conversations with a positive and assured perspective. This is the foundation from which you can now manage the entire discussion and do so as an assured and influential leader. This will instill trust in those to whom you speak. They will be eager to really listen to what you say and this, in turn, will allow them to more fully understand that you can help them bring about a change in their situation.
Step Through A Repeatable Process
What’s so important about being the leader in this conversation is that you are able to move the potential client through some critical components that must be part of any good sales conversation to reach the conclusion that you and the client both want – a way to achieve the desired outcome.
Through my own work, I’ve realized that there are 6 basic steps to any conversation I have with a prospective client. These steps are:
- Lean Into Leadership – manage the call, from the outset, to realize desired outcomes
- Discover the Drama – uncover what isn’t working for your prospects
- Envision Intentions – help your prospects to visualize what is possible
- Convey the Offer – confidently offer what the prospect most needs
- Overcome Objections – learn how to respond to “no” and “I can’t…”
- Finish with Followup – keep your prospect engaged with you following a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’
Today I speak and teach on this process because I know how invaluable it is for others in overcoming their hesitancy to ask others about working together. I follow these 6 steps each time I have a sales conversation and it has proven to be quite successful in my ability to convert prospects to clients.
When I talk to people about this, I think they are so interested in it for two reasons. First, as business professionals and entrepreneurs we all want to know how to, consistently, get paying clients. Second, and this is important to acknowledge, most of us have difficulty asking someone to work with us and at the level of investment that our services or products should be valued at.
We’ve read books, attended courses, and maybe even have been coached on how to strategically plan, set up our business, develop and market new products or services, create joint ventures, etc. It’s all good information but, honestly, the #1 way to grow your business, set it on the right course and be sustainably profitable is to master having 1-on-1 conversations with potential clients that are key decision makers and move them to the point of eagerly wanting to work with you, invest their money with you.
Sales conversations don’t have to be your impossible wall to jump over. Learn, understand and internalize the 4 key points of good salesmanship above and you will get past your, or your prospect’s, hesitancy or struggle and instead move toward sales heroism.