The Internet is full of articles on business communications. A lot of those articles are heavy on the theory and light on concrete advice. That’s why we at FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training focus exclusively on real-world insights, taken from more than 30 years of Coaching experience, and from the expertise of worldwide bestselling author Brian Tracy, as well as other business experts.
Follow the 6 tips below to get closer to your sales prospects, understand them better, and get them to drive the conversation toward the sale you want.
1. Think about who this person is.
Before you even head to the person’s office or pick up the phone, spend some time thinking about their personality. Think about what they want – why they buy the products and services they buy, and what they see in the companies they like. Make a guess at their income level, tastes and preferences, and any other information that might enable you to build a stronger connection with them, and give them a reason to consider what you’re selling.
2. Watch body language and other observable behaviors.
A person’s body – especially their posture and hand movements – can give away a lot about what they’re thinking. Even if your prospect is smiling politely, or staring at you with a stone-faced expression, you can still pick up signals from the way they’re sitting or standing. On a phone call, listen carefully for subtle sounds, changes in speech patterns, pauses, and other indicators that will tell you how to proceed.
3. Adapt your style.
As you note these changes in body language and voice, be quick to adapt your approach and stay in rhythm. If things get a little tense, adjust your body language and say something lighter. If the person seems suspicious, do or say the most surprisingly honest thing you can think of. If you’re starting to build rapport, lean closer and strengthen it.
4. Ask open-ended questions.
The last thing you want in a sales call is for the person to start offering one-word responses. Those are conversation finishers. Keep the dialogue open by asking questions that start with, “Tell me about...” or “What do you think about…” or “How do you...” to get your prospect talking about topics from their own personal experience. Everyone loves to talk about themselves; it’s a great way to keep the conversation flowing.
5. Show genuine interest.
Almost everyone can tell when they are boring the person they are talking to. It’s never a good feeling – so make sure your prospects never feel it. Always make plenty of eye contact, and prove you are interested by asking follow-up questions. Another helpful tactic is to summarize a story your prospect tells, in a clever way that demonstrates you understand the point.
6. Keep them talking.
The longer your prospect keeps talking, the more opportunities you will have to steer the conversation toward selling and you will be able to do it in a ways that feel natural. After you have chatted for a while, you will start to see what this prospect’s needs are, and how you can help.
Keep these 6 tips in your mind as you visit your next prospect, and you will start to notice your rapport with these people improve. For lots more tips like these, check out the FocalPoint Business Coaching and Training website, as well as Brian Tracy’s bestselling business manual The Way to Wealth Workbook, Part III: Blueprints for Success.