Mark Twain once said, “Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
It’s a bit snarky and that’s why we like it. Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, we spend a lot of time communicating with others but little time in a conversation that actually means something. This is dangerous territory for salespeople and entrepreneurs alike. We have no time to waste. Each minute you spend “communicating”, you lose one minute to spend in a meaningful conversation with a valuable prospect.
What is the “art of conversation”?
To set up our own conversation about the “art of conversation”, take a short peek at this video:
(If you’re more of an internal thinker, consider reading this post: What If We Were Taught How to Have a Conversation?)
The art of conversation is difficult to define, but you know when you’re in a good conversation. Each party is aligned and you seem to be progressing toward a solution that works for both parties. You can’t do this by simply “communicating”. You have to create an impact.
How can I, as a salesperson, spend more time in meaningful sales conversations?
Think about the last 10 conversations you engaged in. Become your own critic or find a mentor that will provide feedback.
Identify successful conversations.
Ok, now. Forget about those.
Now, identify conversations that didn’t go as you had hoped when you walked into the meeting or when your prospect answered your phone call.
What part of the conversation was weak? Be honest with yourself and think about just one area that you can improve. Here are some examples:
- Did you create alignment in the first few moments of the conversation? If not, use the Purpose Benefit Check.
- Did you ask questions that made the person stop and think before responding? If not, ask more impact questions.
- Did you walk away with an understanding of when this prospect may be ready to buy, if at all? If not, ask qualifying questions.
These are the three most essential tools to communicating with influence. (And influence lives within meaningful conversations.)
Do you think a conversation is an art form? How do you know when you’re in a meaningful conversation?
What tips and strategies would you give a rookie salesperson when it comes to conversations with prospects?
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