Even as professional salespeople, it can be intimidating trying to talk to strangers. Maybe because most of us were raised to not talk to strangers? Check out the video below to hear what I recently discussed, analyzed, and practiced with participants on a recent #livesaleslab.
How do you go about starting conversations? This could be all prospecting, or responding to an inbound lead, or just having a first scheduled call or meeting.
Even as professional salespeople, it can be intimidating trying to talk to strangers, maybe because most of us are raised not to talk to strangers, but that's exactly what we must do on a daily basis.
Several people shared how they're reconnecting with their connections on LinkedIn to let them know what they're up to now, or going to networking events, introducing people to one another in their network, or just sending messages about something that they have in common.
After debriefing what we were doing now and analyzing that approach, we came away with these adjustments.
First was social listening. It's so easy to find and follow people that we want to have conversations with, whether it's on Twitter or LinkedIn, wherever your buyers are hanging out. First see what it is that they're talking about, make a comment or a remark or share their updates, go to the events that they go to, be them around them so much that they get used to seeing and hearing your name and face.
Before you can actually have a sales conversation, you have to have a human one. That means asking small non-threatening layered questions to start. Here are some examples:
- How did this come across your radar?
- Was this your idea or someone else's?
- What was it that you were searching for when you found us?
- It looks like we're both connected to Jane, how do you know her?
- It's a been a while since we spoke, what's happening in your world?
- I've been talking with several people like you who are concerned about x, has anyone shared this with you?
Third thing and this is probably my most important point is it has to be all about them. If you have set a first meeting, ask them what is it that you would like to get done with our time together? Then, you can ask more questions like what's most important to you out of the things that you've shared? Why are those things the most important? What is it that you've tried already?
What's most important to remember about these three takeaways is that they're the foundations on which you can start to build trust. According to the social penetration theory, our brains prefer to disclose information in layers. Start small, ask simple open ended questions to understand what the current environment, journey, and problem as they see it is. Then, you can earn the right to eventually ask bigger questions that drill down into why the problem is important now, why they've made certain decisions, and how they want to solve that problem.
Join me on next week's live sales lab at noon Eastern Time. Check out the link below to learn more, sign up, and please share it with others.