The ability to lead a quality sales conversation as a salesperson is more difficult than it seems. More than that, the bar for a quality sales conversation today is very different from what it was five or 10 years ago.
The current environment requires reprogramming a large part of the sales concepts that have prevailed in recent decades.
During sales conversations in which a salesperson goes above and beyond what other salespeople might, prospects might say things like:
- “I had not seen it from that angle.”
- “That’s a good question.”
- “I do not have the answer to this question.”
- “I had not thought of that.”
- “You make me see it in a different way.”
Certainly, all sales conversations do not inspire potential customers to make that kind of comment. How do you elevate to that next level of sales conversation? Here is a look at the ten key elements influencing the quality of sales conversations.
The 10 Key Elements of a Quality Sales Conversation:
1. It is consultative.
2. The salesperson asks many good questions.
3. It is memorable for the potential customer.
4. It is a different conversation than the potential customer has had with other salespeople. In other words, it is not a corporate presentation followed by a few questions to understand the need, followed by the presentation of a non-customized solution and a succession of technical information.
5. It helps the prospect to see his situation, problem or opportunity in a new light.
6. It adds value for the potential customer: the added value is that the prospect will have a more comprehensive understanding of the consequences of his problem, a clearer vision of its real causes or a specific solution to resolve the issue.
7. It is an experience in itself (the prospect is listened to, their ideas are confronted, among other things).
8. It returns to the details of the initial conversation the prospect had; to whom they spoke about their situation, where they searched for information, what information the prospect found. . .
9. It prepares for a third conversation; i.e., one that will happen after the departure of the salesperson. This conversation can take place with the prospect’s decision-makers, with their superiors, with influencers, and with a competitor or current provider.
10. It is done in the context of positive challenge: the salesperson helps the prospect to broaden their perspective on the issue. When a prospect is bonded to their problem, their vision is limited, as is their ability to view the potential solutions.
How Can You Tell If Your Salespeople Have Quality Conversations?
The impression that your salespeople have of their own conversations with potential customers is often tinged with optimism. However, when you run the sales force, you cannot take this optimism at face value as you assess the actual quality of conversations.
Here are some questions to help you uncover the true quality of your sales team’s conversations:
- “Did you have a quality conversation with the prospect?”
- “What makes you say that (on what basis)?
Listen carefully to what the salesperson tells you; are these objective elements? Sentences that begin with “I think” are not objective. A salesperson must be able to respond with tangible elements.
- “Did the prospect say that, or you’ve deduced?”
If the salesperson deduced the information, she or he did not have a sufficient qualitative discussion.
To have quality conversations, salespeople must rely on a complete and formal sales process based on a consultative sales approach. Before your salespeople can have conversations of this type, it is essential to:
- Define and implement your sales process; and
- Take stock of your sales team’s skills and ability to execute this process.