We all appreciate sales. Sales are what drive the economy and push the economy forward. Most often the act of selling is as pivotal to the sale as the product itself, and in a highly competitive market, a good salesperson can make all the difference. Conversation starters in sales and overall starting that conversation is the hardest part.
First impressions can color the rest of the relationship between individuals, companies, or even more transiently, experiences. The best sales teams are often the ones that feature the best opener. Let’s look at some of the best conversation starters in sales and break down exactly what makes them so solid.
“What motivated you to meet with us?”
Get to the point. Keep sales short and sweet. Figure out why they are there and what they are looking for. In the sales world, there is this idea that you are trying to convince someone of something they don’t want to do. Or rather that you are manipulating them into acquiring something they either don’t want or don’t need.
By informing the prospect of what your position is upfront you establish the baseline. Ask them what they are looking for. More often than not it isn’t that the prospect will not buy, but rather that you have them on the wrong product. You will wind up wasting time and energy on someone who is not in the market for what you have to offer. This works in relationships, in business, and in recreational or committee meetings.
By establishing what you are and being steadfast and concrete in that, you earn the respect of being honest, upfront, straightforward and fair. It makes the prospect feel like they can trust you. After all, they are looking to buy something. They are in the market talking to you already. Your job is to figure out why they’re there and to do that, you need to keep them talking.
“What are we trying to accomplish here today?”
Again you need to establish the baseline. Being a smart salesman involves the mindset of getting to the goal, but more so eliciting that out of who you are talking to. You need to have all the ideas of what you want to sell them, created remotely in their own head. Do not hit them with overuse of data or analytics. This is good in reputing yourself as an expert, but if you are already understood to be one you need to keep it moving toward a point of being goal driven based on their predilections and their individual needs.
“Where do you want to be?”
Whatever you have you need to be able to convince your client or customer that what you have; either abilities or products can take them from where they are today. A state of duress, anger, and opportunity-driven immobilization, to one that they picture themselves. You do not give them the vision. The smart customer views that as selling and being sold makes them weary. Trust that they already have a vision in their head that is far closer to where they want to be – one vision that you could never know and all you have to do is get them thinking about that. Get them thinking, and keep them talking.
“Where are those problems for you?”
One of the great conversation starters in sales is asking what spurs someone to action. What could motivate someone to leave a state of rest and venture out into an arduous risky landscape? The presence of a problem. What makes relationships dissolve? The presence of a problem. What gets someone willing to part ways with their valuable assets? The removal of a problem. This presents an opportunity.
Your job is to sell the alleviation to that problem by having the remedy you create value. And by creating value you are worthy of doing business with. This is where capability comes into play. By being an expert or coming off as so, you can secure a lot of that efficacy with mannerisms and professionalism. This is Sun Tzu’s “winning the battle before it begins.” The appearance of expertise is a good way to guarantee trust of capability. This is a really good idea for an article in the future. 😉
“If this meeting could accomplish everything you wanted and needed, what would it look like?”
Sales are all about making the deal work. Using this you get to outline what exactly is going on in the client’s mind and get them to sell themselves an image. And you are the first point of contact and the perceived ticket and alleviation toward that vision. They will tell you.
It gets hard outlines from the client and they will give you clear instructions on how to reach them. You need to have them tell you what they need because that is what they will be paying you for. The most powerful thing any salesman can do is get the client or prospect to sell themselves. After that, it is about being present. As said by many professionals, you need to get the individual talking. Letting them talk, allows them to get comfortable and allows you time to assess and use your brain to acquire information and fetter out what they really want. Then be clear and concise and use that time you aren’t speaking to create a plan for them to reach their goals.