Sales is one of five key areas of strategy. The other four: Signposting Skills Systems and Self are discussed in other blogs.
Every business needs sales and almost every business has a sales process – either formal or informal. One of the key elements of every small business sales process for selling your service is a conversation. Yet conversation is not a one-way thing – that’s a monologue, lecturing or preaching. A good two-way business conversation will ultimately, directly or indirectly lead to sales transactions.
Rich conversations create rich transactions, we can’t just focus the ‘deal’ but also the people involved, their hopes, their fears, and ours. Then our potential customer learns, not just about what they can expect by working with us. You will also both build mutual respect for the knowledge, skill, and experience as well as cultural, style and approach of each other. In other words, everything that we bring to the possible arrangements. When we converse our curiosity must be genuine, we must be authentic in seeking to build a relationship that will endure through all of the work that will be done together.
Respectful conversations create respectful transactions when we demonstrate that we are listening. When we listen well and hear the subtle differences between this client unique, then we can adapt our product or service in small ways. Those tweaks respect the conversation and reinforce that you will meet the client’s needs well. You start as you mean to go on, adding value to the relationship over a long period of time.
Better conversations create better transactions when we also listen better than any of our competitors. I often hear clients who talk about the suppliers that they really like. when I ask them what it is that they like, they identify the fact that they listen, as a key differentiator. Listening should not be unusual. Yet, they are. If listening can stand you out from the crowd then it is important not just to be good at listening, but also to be known for your listening skill. What is it that great listeners do? I believe that they have co-operative conversations and they make meaningful suggestions.
Enduring conversations create enduring transactions, particularly when we always take the time to listen. Listening well is a skill that we need to be consciously honing all of the time. We can “see” cooperation develop in the deep attention of a meaningful conversation. That’s more difficult if you’re not meeting face to face, but good listeners overcome that. To make meaningful suggestions you must have a curiosity of the detail and context. A willingness to pause and dig deeper until you have a clear understanding of the intended meaning and sufficient detail to provide insight. When we do those things all the parties have a shared understanding both at an emotional and logical level When we give the gift of our attention, and the time to understand, nothing builds trust faster.
The right conversations create the right transactions, and talking to more of the right people will lead to more transactions of the right kind. Our guiding principle is to ensure that in our working day we create and protect the time for those conversations. Every day.