Is It Time To Change The Conversation?


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Sales and sales management is a series of conversations. The quality of your conversations equal the quality of success in life and business. However, an increasing problem in sales is the lack of quality conversations. You sent your team to a great sales training workshop where they learned the right questions to ask. They learned how to clarify and redirect to eliminate assumptions. The instructor wisely advised them to listen more than they speak.

With all this great information, why aren’t salespeople having the level of conversations that create true connection and conversion of customers?

Reason #1: The hurried and harried syndrome. Great conversations begin with great listening skills. However, a sales team that schedules back-to-back sales meetings don’t have time to listen. They have to get to their next meeting!

When a salesperson is hurried and harried, it’s impossible to demonstrate “real world” empathy. You must be present to win. A hurried salesperson is thinking about their last appointment and the upcoming appointment. The prospect catches the salesperson’s “hurried emotions” and as a result, the conversation stays at a transactional level not a deep, relationship building level.  

Hurried and harried salespeople also don’t bring their face to the meeting. This salesperson is the most empathetic salesperson in the world. HOWEVER, when people are in a hurry, their facial expression and tonality don’t reflect empathy. Their facial expression and tonality shout, “Hurry up. I have places to go, people to see.” Hurried conversations are not deep, relationship building conversations.  

The fix: Give your sales team permission to stop engaging in FOMO – fear of missing out. Encourage your sales team to have fewer sales meetings, quality sales meetings.  

Your KPI’s should measure the quality of sales meetings, not the quantity of sales meetings.

Reason #2:  Your salespeople aren’t holding quality conversations with themselves. It’s been proven that what you think about long enough, often enough, becomes your truth. And too often the conversations salespeople have about themselves sabotage their sales success:

  • I’m too young…no one is going to take me seriously.
  • I don’t know enough. Therefore, I can’t call on the big accounts, the ones that write big checks.  
  • I’m too old. I can’t learn this new AI stuff.

If you want to change the quality of the conversation with prospects and customers, it’s important to change the quality of the conversation your salespeople are having with themselves.

The fix: Have your sales team apply the EQ skill of self-awareness to determine if their stories, the conversations they are having with themselves, are based on perception or actual selling events. In other words, are they just making up “stuff” OR are they letting a one-time selling event become their truth?

For example, one of your salespeople calls on a big company and meets with a decision maker with a big title.  He or she was asked new questions of which they didn’t know the answer. Leaving the meeting, your salesperson is filled with the emotions of feeling stupid and embarrassed. The conversation they have with themselves is that they don’t know enough. As a result of one sales call, they now BELIEVE they aren’t capable of calling on larger deals.

Ask your salesperson the following coaching questions to challenge the conversation they are having with themselves.

❓How do you think people that don’t know enough, get to know enough? This question helps the salesperson realize that everyone, at some point or another, didn’t know what to do or how to do it. It helps the salesperson realize that instead of doubting themselves, they need to reach out to people or resources to get the answers to “know enough.”

❓ – What’s the lesson learned from this appointment? This question helps the salesperson look for the gift, the lesson, from a difficult sales call. Teach your team that you may not get the deal but you always get the lesson. And that lesson keeps on giving because it helps you show up better prepared for the next sales meeting.

If you want to improve the quality of your team’s sales conversations AND sales results, change the conversations that your team is having with their prospects, customers and themselves.

Good Selling!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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