The Art of Conversation

How to create powerful Sales Conversations

A sales coaching client recently asked me how to create better sales conversations. And I put it back to him with a question “What is your current strategy?” I always want to know somebody’s starting point. To which he replied “I have three questions to ask my client at the beginning of a meeting.” I just stopped him there and said “Was this the dating strategy you used to seduce your wife?  How far do you think you would have got with that?”  No conversations start that way. There are always natural flows in a conversation. In the field of linguistics and discourse analysis, which is the study of how conversations get going and change direction, there is a natural pattern to social conversation.

There is a natural way to get into connection or rapport, starting with pleasantries and then finding where you are, who you know, what you know, what’s not working. At this point, it’s all about getting to know each other and checking whether you like each other. It’s about being real – your real self-  acting from a place of integrity and congruence. What you see is what you get. This is the place where somebody will get what you are really about and decide they want to know more.

The most interesting conversations are always the ones where the person said, “I so enjoyed meeting you” and you didn’t say that much, but you totally focused on the other person. And they just found you the MOST Interesting person they ever met. Curious isn’t it? At the end of the day, most of us do spend our day in our heads, thinking about “What’s in this for me?” so why would your customers be any different.

The secret: Ask a question and off they go!  Let their coffee go cold and you know that you are on to a winner – they are really enjoying this conversation about them and their business.  Then you find out what’s not working, what’s the problem, and let them conclude from your conversations that it can be fixed. You are the metaphorical shoulder to cry on – they get to see that you are empathising, listening, understanding, they feel heard, and they decided internally that you may just be the answer to their prayer.

Then you ask them more and they start to see that maybe the problem isn’t so bad and that there are so many ways to look at this problem – which of course you have done, using good opening statements like “If you look at it this way, then … X and Y.”

You are at this point – painting pictures, sounds and feelings – about the future that is awaiting them – should they decide to solve their problem, in their world and in a way that works for them. And you are in the middle of it. This type of conversation makes it seem like you’ve stepped into their living room, where your conversation gets to the heart of what really concerns your buyer. It’s called buying facilitation.

Then the buyer starts to come up with their answers in their head or aloud as to why this is really going to work for them and you affirm that YES of course, this is the answer to their problems.  And the decision to buy begins to unfold through your buyer’s mind. It’s that simple. It’s Selling Genius!


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