It doesn’t matter if you’re 13 or 30, breaking the ice and starting a conversation is awkward, especially when you have the added pressure of trying to make a sale. You want to make sure to hit all of your points, but want to avoid delivering a monologue, but how? Practice. These interactions get easier over time, but there is something to be said about practicing with a friend or colleague until the conversation feels natural. Asking questions also can help turn the spotlight away while simultaneously allowing you to learn more about your prospect. Conversations with clients is a huge part of marketing, so we’ve developed three ways to turn your initial conversations into lasting relationships.
Engage your Audience
It may be your first inclination to start the conversation off by stating your title and organization, but this can make the conversation feel stiff right off the bat. Instead, briefly explain what you actually do and find a way to relate it to a common situation, allowing for an opening where you can tell a story about a bold or adventurous move you’ve made in the past. You can then continue the conversation by asking your new contacts about their relevant experiences, and from there the conversation should naturally flow.
Establishing credibility is crucial, because you want to show that you are an authority in your field, but you want to do so in a way that is not pushy or braggy. Much like the initial engagement stage, adding the personal element of connection works here as well. You can establish credibility by telling them about your work, life, or education experience in a way that continues that natural flow of conversation but also establishes you as a knowledgeable source in the field.
While it is important to lead the conversation, it is also important to make sure you don’t monopolize it. Include your prospective customer by asking questions about their long term goals, needs, and current pain points. Once you have a better understanding of the customer’s needs, you can better position yourself to make a credible pitch for a solution to solve their pain points. Until you know what you’re up against, don’t mention how your product or service can help them. That information may be better suited in a follow-up conversation rather than the initial touchpoint. The more you find out over time and through repeated conversations, the more likely you are to turn a prospect into a customer.
Ask for an Easy “Yes”
You know the moment that you’re the target of a salesperson, we’ve all been there. You can practically feel the target on your forehead. You don’t want a “yes” born from that situation, it isn’t sustainable in the long run. To take the pressure out of a situation and the target off your prospect’s back, ask for an easy “yes.” These can be things like asking for a card, or to connect on LinkedIn, but they can also be things like:
- “I would like to hear your thoughts on this concept.”
- “I would like to hear more about the challenges you experience.”
While hearing “yes” is the goal, don’t ask for anything that requires them to check with anyone for an answer as it can add more complications to the conversation. An easy “yes” can help to create the next steps in the relationship. If the conversation went great, don’t be afraid to ask to set up coffee or a follow up meeting!
If you would like to learn more about cultivating marketing and sales relationships, click on the banner below to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us today!