As voice-based specialists, human interaction is at the heart of what we do. As the sales and marketing process becomes more and more reliant on digital/virtual platforms, human interactions are ever more powerful and potentially impactful. It’s more important than ever, therefore, to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by human contact and ensure sales conversations are always effective.
Modern buyers are no longer receptive to outdated tricks and hard sell tactics. Sales conversations need to add value from the start, clearly differentiate capabilities and build a clear vision of a proposition uniquely placed to address the buyer’s requirements.
To help you make the most of your sales conversations, we have put together ten top tips, from initial planning, applying emotional intelligence and building rapport, right through to how to close.
Being well prepared for your sales conversation before you even pick up the phone, is critical to success. This includes researching your prospect in advance through social media, news articles, and online resources; preparing the message you want to get across; and setting clear objectives for what you need to achieve from the call. In most cases failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so planning should also include anticipating set-backs and objections raised.
2. Rapport Building
If your sales conversation is to progress your prospect along the purchase path, they need to feel confident and trust that you have value to offer. Rapport is the first stage in building that trust and establishing credibility. A positive open attitude, strong listening skills and a genuine interest in their needs are just some of the key requisites to building good rapport.
Effective communication requires a ‘back-and-forth' exchange rather than a ‘one-sided pitch’ so listening skills are critical. Listen to understand, clarify, remain open, stay curious and learn about the challenges and needs of your prospect. Not only will this establish a genuine connection, it creates a platform on which to position your proposition and present a compelling solution.
Qualifying your buyer at the start of any conversation is imperative in order to successfully sell a solution. A great conversation with a prospect may feel good but if they aren't a good fit or don’t have an appetite to buy, it is a waste of your time and theirs in terms of the buying process. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions to establish their role from the outset and avoid assumptions based on job title; those vary from company to company and may not guarantee the prospect is the right fit for you.
Not every conversation will go as planned and developing resilience is a core part of being in sales. Rather than feeling defeated, it is important to use set-backs as an opportunity to learn, reassess and adapt your approach so you increase the likelihood of future success. If you then re-engage and are able to overcome your buyer’s objections, you will have increased your credibility and strengthened their trust in you. And if they aren’t ready to buy, you can redirect your efforts to the right prospects.
6. Emotional Intelligence
An awareness of how you communicate and the ability to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes will always improve the effectiveness of any sales conversation. Listening, showing empathy, demonstrating that you really understand their pain and acknowledging the challenges and issues they face will build trust and enable you to position your solution appropriately and with credibility.
7. Consultative Selling
Recent research by Rain Group shows that 'some 71% buyers say that a salesperson's leading a thorough discovery of their concerns, wants, and needs is highly influential on their purchasing decisions'. Effective sales conversations should provide an open dialogue that explores the customers’ problems, fears, and desires and builds understanding of their specific needs and the outcomes they want to achieve. Without that level of understanding, it is impossible to identify and provide the right solution.
8. Objection Handling
Objections are inevitable in the sales process but recognising them as an opportunity to better understand the customer and their desires, is crucial to overall success. Objections mean that your buyer isn’t convinced that you understand their issue, or that your solution offers an effective solution. This means you need to step back, regroup and re-angle your key messages to create a more compelling case.
9. Structured Approach
Using frameworks to support a consistent approach is imperative to the effectiveness of your sales conversations. Whether defining your target prospect, specifying qualification criteria using BANT (Budget, Need, Authority, and Timeline) or adopting the five W’s (who, what, when, where and why) to gather in-depth customer insight, a structured approach will make your efforts more focused and consistent.
If you have built genuine rapport with a prospect, handled their objections well and communicated the value of your proposition effectively, closing the sale should be a natural next step for both parties. If you have addressed all their concerns and they are convinced you offer an effective solution, there is no reason why you shouldn’t feel confident asking how they would like to move forward or if they would like you to draw up the necessary paperwork. If you feel uncertain or fearful, you need to re-assess.
At TTMC, our sales development agents hone their skills calling on behalf of hundreds of clients into diverse sectors and varying types and level of decision-maker. They are expert at listening, showing empathy, building rapport, positioning relevant benefits and value-based solutions that create buyer confidence.
If you would like to discuss how our specialist voice contact services can add value to your buyer conversations, get in touch today.
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