Do you remember the last three great conversations you had? Neither does your customer.
That premise is the very reason why customers are so protective of their time and trust.
And when you get that opportunity to make a sales call, you want to make it a conversation both parties will remember for good.
Below are five observations from the best of the best on elevating your customer conversation;
- Before each meeting, develop a purpose of the call that is clear, compelling, and timely to both parties (no set of questions or “hand-on-chin” listening skills will save a meeting without purpose): One way great conversationalists satisfy this criteria is to ask themselves, “Why is this one meeting important – at this particular time – for the person I am meeting with?” (Note: “Meet and greet” is never a valid business reason. In prospecting, we increased the number of meetings secured by over 90 percent by replacing “we’ll be in your area” with valid business reasons.)
- Start each meeting with the same type of question: a confirmation of the purpose of the meeting. It is impossible to have a good meeting when the client’s mind is somewhere else. Ask, “You were interested in x and the conversation mattered now because of y … still the right conversation for today?” This action challenges the initial purpose of the call and demonstrates a willingness to go where the customer wants to go. No other activity is more powerful in this regard. If the client wants to go elsewhere, go there with him/her. If the client says things have changed and there is no reason to proceed with a meeting, I’d rather walk away with an hour in my pocket than force a charade.
- Establish or check your credibility prior to your discovery or differentiation: Why? Because before your customer considers your questions or capabilities, he first wonders, “Should I (still) trust this person?”
- Ask the customer to do something and make it time-bound: I’ve seen conversations that were losing steam regain momentum simply because the sales professional asked for specific action. When in doubt, one sales leader who grew a company sixfold in seven years would simply ask, “What should I be asking you to do next?”
- Schedule and perform an internal debrief: This comes after the call, but it is one of the single most important levers in elevating conversations. Despite your good feelings after every call, it wasn’t “awesome” unless three things happened and you can prove these in debrief:
a. The customer’s perception of you was changed in some way;
b. You uncovered missing information that was a mystery prior to the meeting; and
c. You asked the customer to do something (and, even better, they agreed).
Want to learn more on preparing for and managing sales calls/customer conversations? Click here to enroll for the next Sales Call Management Workshop or call 08121456217.