6 Easy Ways to Get into a Conversation

It’s What Happens in Sales

Walk onto any car lot, into any specialty store or call center and you’ll hear conversations taking place. It’s what happens in sales. But having a good conversation and getting one started  is often easier said than done.

On today’s show discover:

  • …6 Tips for Getting a Conversation Started;
  • … how a good conversation can help your customer feel important;
  • … and what you can do through conversation to make your offer more interesting.

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What Makes a Conversation Good?

listen-1702648_640We’ve all had conversations before and most (with friends and family) are pretty easy. But when it comes to customers or someone we’ve just met it can be hard to know where to start and what to say. Before we dive into some tips for getting a conversation started let’s take a look at what it takes to have a good conversation.

One thing that’s important in any conversation is that both people are involved. If you’re doing all the talking it’s more of a lecture than a conversation. A good conversation means there is give and take. Generally when we ask someone a question we expect them to ask back: How are you doing? I’m doing great, what about you?

A conversation should be casual and help to put both you and your customer at ease. It’s not an argument and it’s not about manipulating anyone. It let’s them get to know you (so they can trust you) and help you find out more about them (including their hot buttons and emotional reasons for wanting your product).

6 Ideas for Getting a Conversation Started

1 Give a  compliment

Compliments are a great way to begin a conversation. Everyone likes a compliment and feels good about the person who gives it. Now it’s important that your compliment is appropriate, sincere and specific.

2 Embrace Small Talk

Small talk is an important first step in building a good conversation. Think of it like driving a car. When you take off in your car you gradually accelerate until your going 60mph. Small talk is that same gradual acceleration when you meet a customer for the first time. Going from 0-60 in the first few seconds of meeting someone is not a good plan if you want to make a connection, build value and make sales.

One of the easiest ways to get started with small talk is to simply ask someone how they’re doing. The majority of people will say “fine, great, or good” take it as a positive and get your conversation started by saying something like “That’s fantastic, I’m having an amazing day too what’s put you in such a great mood?”

If they tell you they aren’t doing so well try something like this:  “Well, let’s see if we can help turn that around for you. Tell me more about what’s going on.”

Here some other ideas for small talk:

  • Talk about where they’re from
  • What they do
  • Even current events can get a conversation started. Just be sure the topic is appropriate and not something that’s too controversial. The idea is to make a friend not an enemy so stay away from topics like politics, and religion.
  • Ask about their plans for an upcoming holiday

You can even use The weather (although I would save this as a last resort because it’s pretty cliche’)

3 Ask Questions

Questions are what will move a conversation forward. Be curious and ask logical questions and  listen for a natural transition from small talk into the sales process.

Here’s what it might sound like if you don’t ask a logical question:

  • Salesperson: Where are you from?
  • Customer: Vermont
  • Salesperson: Great, I’m from Maine Did you just hear the Dr. on the radio?

So the question does encourage the customer to stay engaged but in many ways the initial question doesn’t seem to make sense. Why did I ask where they are from? We’ve missed an opportunity for a little small talk before getting right down to business.

Here’s what it sounds like with a more logical follow up question.

  • Salesperson: “Where are you from?”
  • Customer: “I’m from Vermont.
  • Salesperson: “Oh, Vermont, I love it there. It’s such an amazing state and the mountains are incredible. How long have you lived there?

4 Be Nice

This should be obvious, but don’t underestimate how important it is. Your level of friendliness can make or break a good conversation. Smile, stay focused and go out of your way to show that you’re genuinely interested in what your customer has to say.

5 Focus on Them

The best conversationalists are good listeners and that means keeping the focus on your customer. Follow the 80 / 20 rule and listen 80% of the time and talk just 20% of the time. When they’re doing most of the talking, it’s a great conversation!

6 Stay positive

People like positive people and when you’re encouraging; your customer will feel more comfortable having a conversation. Be sure you’re incorporating positive and supportive responses throughout your conversation. You’ll instantly be more likeable.

Use phrases like:  

  • That’s Fantastic
  • What a Great thing
  • That’s so Amazing
  • Excellent

Remember to:

  • Give a compliment when you can
  • Embrace Small Talk
  • Ask Questions
  • Be Nice
  • Focus on Them
  • And stay positive

A famous psychologist named John Dewey discovered that everyone wants to feel important. When you engage your customer in conversation you’re showing them that you value what they have to say and you’re interested in their opinions. When you’re interested, you’re more interesting…and so is your offer.

Today’s One Two Punch

A good conversation leads to a good sale

the-art-of-conversation3

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