The Universal Sales Conversation Stack
How an intentional plan for interaction can lead to closing more sales
Successful sales don’t happen by accident. To gain a prospective customer, you need to have a strategy, and that strategy should begin with an effective persuasive appeal – a conversation that sets you up to win. The task can seem intimidating, but no matter what you are selling or who you are talking to, there are four simple, critical steps you can follow to ensure your sales conversations are more convincing.
Step One – Establish credibility.
Credibility is crucial. Your prospect is judging you during every moment of your interaction with them; they begin even before you open your mouth to actually begin the conversation. Everything from the clothes you are wearing to your posture to the way you speak is going to affect your prospect’s determination of your reliability and your believability.
Are you confident about the product you offer? Have you done enough industry research to know the key terminology, business lingo, and specific knowledge of the customer or company? Do you have materials prepared to present, and are they easily understandable and well-designed? These are all important considerations in establishing yourself as trustworthy, in presenting yourself as an authoritative resource as opposed to just another salesperson.
Step Two – Build trust through commonality.
Finding some sort of common ground is an absolute requirement when it comes to breaking down barriers and increasing receptivity from your clients. Everyone is more likely to feel more comfortable around people that are like them. So if you can make your prospect identify with you (“Where are you from?”“ I have a friend who used to go to high school right around that area!”“ You like to garden?”“ My mom has a green thumb too!”), it goes a long way towards gaining their trust.
If you do not establish some similarities between you and your prospects, they are not going to see you as a person, but as a salesperson only. Chances dramatically decrease that they will genuinely listen to you or be willing to take action at the end of your conversation.
Step Three – Expand on their problem, or create a problem if they don’t have one.
In order for someone to be interested in buying something, they must first have a need, a problem that needs to be solved. It is your job when trying to close a sale to make sure your prospect is unmistakably aware of the problem they have. If they do not believe they have a problem, it is your job to create one for them. Sometimes establishing the problem is fairly easy. Take LASIK for example- people get LASIK surgery done because they can’t see that well. The problem is the quality of their vision. Pretty simple.
In other sales, it is necessary to coach your prospect on problems they may not think they have. Take identity theft solutions, for example. Plenty of people go throughout their lives with no concerns at all about identity theft. They may have heard about it, but they believe it will never happen to them. This is where the intelligent salesperson will bring up statistics about identity theft (“Did you know that consumers lost more than $16B dollars to fraud and identity theft just last year alone?””16.7 million Americans were victim to identity theft last year.””1 in 6 Americans are victims of identity theft”). These kind of questions and statements are geared to let your prospect know that they might have a bigger problem than they may have expected and personalize the need.
Step Four – Introduce your solution
Now that you have made your prospect keenly aware of their problem, you can present your solution, which should be crafted in just a way that it perfectly solves their problem or meets their need (that you just spent time building and clarifying). Keep in mind that if you rearrange the order of these four steps, your prospect is not going to care about the solution.
Everything leads up to this part of the conversation process.
- Your client only respects what you are telling them because you have already established your credibility as well as the organization that you represent.
- They are only receptive and willing to take your advice on a solution because you have established trust through commonalities.
- And they are only aware that they need a solution because you have made it clear that they have a problem.