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Sales - 11 min READ

How to nail your next sales conversation

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Author photo: Shabnam Kakar

Shabnam Kakar


A sales rep is only as good as their sales conversations. Luckily, having a great sales conversation is something all of your sales reps can learn how to do.

Image for post Seal the deal.

Seal the deal.

Learn how to close sales efficiently, from overcoming objections to persuading prospects to take action, with this free handbook.

Here’s how to start the sales conversation.

Know your audience + build rapport.

In the Relationship Era, relationship-building is the new way to sell. Relationships are built on trust, and a customer needs to trust you before they'll buy anything from you. That’s why building a positive rapport with your prospects is so important. (And so is continuing to build rapport once they've become customers!)

Building rapport is a lot easier if you know something about your customer that you can connect over. Before you even initiate a sales conversation, take some time to research your audience. A quick Google or LinkedIn search can go a long way in helping you learn more about the customer and the company they represent.

Consider downloading Datanyze Insider, a free Chrome extension that can save you a lot of time by doing your company research for you. The extension gives you an overview of the website that you're on and generates company insights like its revenue, number of employees, and current technology providers the company is using:

When you come into a sales conversation and you know your client, you set yourself up for a great first impression. The customer will also know that you’re serious, and the fact you actually know something about their company can do a lot for you in the trust department.

Remember, building rapport with a customer doesn’t mean complimenting their shirt. Mike Shultz, President of RAIN Group, lists the following as the 4 principles of rapport:

  1. Empathy: Get your customer to talk about themselves and demonstrate to them that you’re listening and that their feelings are heard.
  2. Authenticity: Simply be “real”. Give your customer the respect of being genuine with them and save the phony suck-up act.
  3. Similarity: Find something you share in common with your customer, like a TV show, hobby, or favourite sports team and use this to better connect with them.
  4. Shared experience: Think of your sales conversation as a collaborative effort to help your customer meet their business goals. Not only will they like you more for it, they’ll also be more likely to take action when it comes to making a purchase decision.

Once you’ve made a positive first impression, get straight to the point of the conversation—show your customer you respect their time and you’re serious about what you have to offer them. No one likes someone who beats around the bush.

Because you’ve done your research, you probably have a good idea of what the customer’s business goals are. This is a great time to insert that insight.

Example: “I was taking a look at your website and it seems as though your company could use {{product or service you’re offering that could help them meet their goal}}. Is this something you’re looking at or is there something else you’re focusing on right now?”

By making your questions open-ended, you’re also encouraging back-and-forth dialogue, which we’ll go more into next.

Speak with the customer, not at the customer.

We’ve all been on the other end of a bad sales call. You know, where the rep is very clearly reading a script off a sheet and simply listing a bunch of features of a product that may mean nothing to you.

And the worst part?

They’re talking so much that you’re barely able to get a word in. Even if this product was something that could be useful to you, you’re not able to get your questions in between the rep’s rehearsed sales spiel.

Don’t be that sales rep.

Practice back-and-forth dialogue when speaking with a customer. This is especially important to remember when speaking on the phone.

Talk to your customer like they were a regular person sitting in front of you and you guys were having a coffee. How would you talk to them?

(This means don't interrogate them either. People don’t like that.)

Oh, and another thing: actually listen.

In a study analyzing over 25,000 B2B sales conversations, the “highest-yielding” sales conversations had a talk-to-listen ratio of about 43:57. In other words, 43% of the conversation was spent talking and the other 57% was spent listening:

When you listen, there’s no need to guess what a customer’s concerns or objections are—they’ll literally tell you what they are and you can address them accordingly during your sales conversation.

Example: “You mentioned one of the reasons you haven’t pulled the trigger on a new CRM is you’re worried about its integration. Can you tell me more about that?”

Explain the value; don’t just list the features.

You’re selling a solution. Make this clear by focusing on the value of that solution versus simply reading off a list of its features. Emphasize the positive impact your company’s solution can make on the customer’s business.

While you don’t want to mention pricing at this stage in the sales conversation, you definitely don’t want to mention pricing before the value is made very clear.

Closing a sale shouldn’t be a one-sided achievement for just you. It should also be an achievement for the customer.

Explain to the customer how, by hooking up the product or service you’re selling, you’re going to meet their need or help them achieve their business goal. When the customer then purchases your product, both of your goals will be achieved. It’s a win-win.

Example: “You expressed some concerns around inefficiencies and a disconnect between the different programs your team uses. Because Copper integrates with G Suite, it allows teams across the company to collaborate super efficiently. This means no duplicate work, no wasted time on emails and administrative duties, and more time spent on achieving those common goals—and of course, generating maximum revenue as you’ll be able to focus on making sales.”

Ask who else they’re considering.

It’s a good idea to ask your customer whether they’re considering anyone else for the product or service you’re providing and if yes, ask who.

This way, you’ll know which features and benefits to highlight during your conversation that rank well against the competitor(s) the customer mentioned.

It’s important to get this question into the sales conversation early on before your customer has had a chance to formulate their own conclusions on your product and dismiss it in favor of a competitor they already had in mind.

For this, it’s helpful to have competitive battle cards on hand—download a battlecard template here—so you know at a glance exactly how your product or service compares to the competition. Here's an example from Klue:

Never bash your competitors. Instead, highlight your company’s strengths.

Example: “Before I dive in, I want to ask, have you considered any other providers for {{your product or service}}?”

Here’s what to say during the sales conversation.

Encourage questions.

People ask questions about stuff they’re interested in.

If your customer is asking questions, keep going because you’re doing great.

By encouraging questions during your sales conversation, you can focus on the things your customer cares about the most. When they do ask a question, probe deeper if you need to so you can really address it.

Example: “In regards to your current {{product or service}}, which aspect would you say could benefit the most from a little TLC or overall improvement?” *customer answers* “Could you tell me a little bit more about that?”

Address objections.

By encouraging questions, you’ll also be simultaneously getting any possible objections out of your customer, which you’ll be able to address then and there.

Example: "I understand your concern about the learning curve that may result from switching CRM platforms. The thing about Copper is, it’s designed to look and feel exactly like the most popular G Suite apps, so the interface is identical to a lot of the programs your team is already using. This should make it very easy for your team to pick up. In fact, we’ve even had customers tell us they’ve had absolutely no learning curve with Copper!

Take away the risk.

By now, you’re probably pretty far into your sales conversation. But, the customer is still showing some hesitation. Here’s your opportunity to break the final purchase barrier by removing the associated risk and make the purchase decision an easy one.

This usually involves getting rid of customer obligation: is the customer unsure the product will be a right fit? Are there concerns about the price? Offer a free trial, free shipping, and/or free returns.

According to this article in Forbes, offering a guarantee with your product or service can drive revenue by:

Example: “Tell you what. Why don’t we set you up with a 14-day free trial of {{your product or service}}. That will give you some time to see for yourself exactly how {{your product or service}} can help you improve X, Y, and Z.”

Here’s how to close the sales conversation.

Discuss pricing.

At this point, you’ve gone over the value your product or service can offer your customer and how it will help them achieve their business goals. Now it’s time to discuss pricing.

Before you even start the sales conversation, you should know the maximum amount of discounts you can offer and negotiate accordingly.

Example: “So the regular price for {{your product or service}} is $X on a monthly basis, but if you sign up for a full year I can give you a discounted price of $Y. What do you think?”

Ask for the sale.

It’s time to reel it in!

“Asking for the sale” is a great way to close a sales conversation by giving the customer just the right amount of pressure to buy, without being obnoxious or overly aggressive.

This method has the benefit of giving you another shot of addressing any purchase barriers the customer may have. If the customer answers “yes,” it means you got the sale. Otherwise, the customer will need to explain their reasoning since you’re asking an open-ended question.

Example: “So the biggest priorities for your business right now are {{list problems the customer mentioned that this product or service will be solving}}. If you sign the contract today, we can make sure those things are taken care of as soon as {{Date}}. Ready to get started?”

This is a great way to end your sales conversation on a strong note—and close that sale.

Start having sales conversations that lead to closed deals.

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Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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