6 Tried-and-True Strategies to Improve Sales Conversations
June 23, 2023
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With sales teams embracing AI, innovation, and ever-evolving strategies, it’s easy to assume that sales conversations are no longer as important as they once were.
In fact, 87 percent of B2B buyers say online content has a major to moderate impact on the purchase decision.
However, that doesn’t mean prospects don’t want to talk to your sales team, especially later in the customer journey. HubSpot found that while only 19 percent of buyers want to talk to sales during the awareness phase, 60 percent would love to connect during the consideration stage.
That means sales conversations can still make or break the sales process—and it pays for your sales reps to know how to conduct these conversations to close deals.
The good news is you can help your team have more meaningful, impactful conversations with prospects and help potential customers understand how they can benefit from your products or services.
Try these six simple but effective tactics to help your reps conduct more impactful, influential sales conversations.
In this post:
Know how to start the conversation
There are many ways for sales reps to connect with potential customers.
Reps can talk to leads on the phone, through social media, email, and even chatbots or other communication platforms. Knowing how to start the conversation without coming off as pushy or dishonest is essential for moving a customer through the sales process.
Understanding the customer, their business, and their pain points and needs is the first step.
Try to bring up something personal and unique to them. Maybe something they shared online or information you found in a bio. This can help you build rapport and shows that the rep did their research before the initial interaction. According to research from HubSpot, 40 percent of sales professionals believe establishing customer trust and support is essential to sales strategy.
Putting in the research helps you understand your prospect’s unique challenges and how your product or service can help to solve these challenges. This helps you tailor your approach to be unique and personal to the prospect’s needs.
At the same time, be authentic. You don’t want a personalized approach to feel fake or forced. When your sales reps are genuine, the buyer will feel relaxed and comfortable.
Even though the end goal is to make a sale, you don’t want to come off as too “salesy”, and you want to focus on building relationships and offering solutions that truly resonate with prospects.
Map the conversation to the buyer’s journey
B2B sales are undoubtedly complex. Gartner found that today’s B2B buyers have 6 to 10 decision-makers involved, and nothing seems to move quickly.
That means you can improve sales conversations by ensuring your reps have specific training on how to add value and what information to focus on at every stage.
Gartner also found that buyers love when the seller makes it easier to navigate the sales process, and buyers who received helpful information were 2.8x more likely to feel at ease with purchasing.
When your sales reps can quickly identify where a buyer is in the sales process and provide targeted information, everyone will have better results from sales calls.
Ask questions and actively listen to the answers
Our minds love to make assumptions because it saves us the energy of analyzing everything from scratch. We look for ways to fit people, experiences, places, and things into pre-existing frameworks.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work well in sales. Reps that make assumptions end up putting customers into boxes that may not apply, angering buyers who feel their needs are not heard or addressed.
That’s why it’s essential to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers.
This will help reps learn what the customer needs and the buying criteria. With this information, reps can speak to the specific ways your product or service fits with the customers’ needs.
Understanding how a product or service benefits a user is critical through the product creation process and through the entire customer journey.
“And then you realize that you don’t build multiple products, you solve multiple problems, and the product is a vehicle to solve those problems,” says Manny Medina, CEO and Co-Founder, Outreach. “So the way that you build your platform is you go back to the customer and say, ‘If I were to solve more problems for you, what would that look like?'”
Asking questions requires taking the time to hear the answer. No one likes to be interrogated or feel pushed. Ensure your sales team is open-minded and not trying to force your product or service on potential buyers.
Share the benefits, not the features
This goes back to really understanding your customers, their pain points, and why your product is an adequate solution. Help your prospects understand how your product can benefit them and the specific problems that it solves.
How can your product make their lives easier or help them excel in their roles? Effectively communicating real, tangible benefits is much more important and influential than spouting off a list of features.
Apple is one of the best examples of using this tactic in their sales and marketing. When generating buzz around the iPod, instead of talking about how many megabytes of storage the device had, they clearly communicated the benefit by saying, “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
Another great way to do this is to use stats and data to demonstrate the benefits of a product and real-life applications of how it has helped a company and its team members.
Slack touts benefits over features by demonstrating how using the platform can increase productivity.
Follow up, and then follow up again
One of the most surprising things about sales reps is that they often give up much more quickly than they should.
Hubspot found that while 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls or more, most sales reps give up after one or two calls. Giving up too early could cost you a sale.
Train your sales reps that not hearing back right away isn’t the end of the road. Encourage a longer follow-up process.
Create a structured sales conversation
Some reps can free-wheel a sales conversation very successfully. However, some team members may feel intimidated if they don’t know how to start or navigate an interaction with a prospect.
This is where a conversation structure is helpful.
It’s essential to understand the difference between a conversation structure and a script. A script is something you memorize. Scripted conversations sound inauthentic and overbearing and can be off-putting to a buyer.
On the other hand, a structured conversation has phases, and sales reps are trained to work through the phases in a way that makes the most sense for the buyer. The structure helps the sales reps know where they’ve been and where they need to go and can put the buyer at ease.
Finally, a structured sales conversation can help every prospect have a similar experience with your sales team, which builds consistency and credibility for your brand.
How do you create structured sales conversations? The specific format will depend on your industry and sales process, but here is a basic framework:
- Connect and build rapport
- Determine critical problems and the desired outcome of solving the problem
- Showcase the impact your product or service can have on both the problem and the outcome
- Describe what their new reality could be after engaging with your solution
- Ask for the sale or end on a foundation of trust and understanding with a follow-up plan
Whether you use this format or create your own, having a roadmap helps create a cohesive customer experience and instills confidence in your sales reps.
In addition, it’s vital to ensure your reps have the materials and resources they need to bring value to every buyer interaction.
With the right sales enablement content, including resources like buyer personas, talk tracks, playbooks, and battle cards, your team can answer questions, and address objections, concerns, and pain points, to convert prospects into customers.
Train your sales reps for better conversations today
These tips will help create better and more effective sales conversations with customers, but you can’t just share the tips and hope they get implemented.
Instead, you must take a hands-on approach and create training to help reps practice these techniques.
With the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can equip your team with on-demand training to improve sales conversations, drive revenue performance, and close more deals.
With the Learning Cloud, you can increase win rates by creating a training program that coaches your reps on product knowledge and effective sales tactics.
Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you create training programs to empower your sellers and exceed business goals. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Anna SpoonerWorkRamp Contributor
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.
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