Being successful in sales is so much more than simply having a great product that consumers need. It also involves developing a personable sales approach and cultivating a friendly rapport with your customers. According to Sales Consultant Lambeth Hochwald, “The most successful entrepreneurs create a connection with the customer by bringing their own personal touch to the sales process.” When you think of sales as only selling and not relating well to others, you will lose current and potential customers. It pays off in the long run to invest in your sales approach and the relationship you have with customers. This article will address several ways that you can approach a potential customer to start a sales talk.
Several Approaches to Speaking with New Customers
There are several different approaches that you can take when approaching a potential customer to start a sales talk. These approaches have similar factors revolving around simply being a genuine human being.
1. Take the “Old School” Approach
There always is and will be a place for technology and new ways of doing things. However, when it comes to the sales approach, sometimes the old ways still work. For example, think back to the times when businesses were smaller and shop owners knew their customers by name. When it comes to approaching a new customer, work on developing some old school techniques such as slowing down and actually being friendly. Take a genuine interest in the conversation and try to remember key factors that the customer mentions. Remembering something that the customer said and repeating it back in your own words demonstrates that you were actually paying attention—you are sincere and don’t simply care only about making a sale.
2. Ask Targeted Questions
During the conversation, you need to stay focused and ask targeted questions which gently help your customer to understand what he or she really wants. Never begin with a hard sell. Always seek to ascertain what the customer is looking for. When you can determine that specific information, it makes the process so much easier for you to then assist with completing the sale. This process of asking targeted questions is a way for you to also build a professional relationship with the customer. In turn, the customer will feel valued and most likely purchase the product or service and become a regular patron.
3. Get Slightly Personal
Another approach is to get slightly personal without divulging too much sensitive information about yourself to the potential customer. This step does work in conjunction with the other two as you make an effort to pay close attention to the conversation and learn to ask targeted questions. When getting personal, you need to seek a way to genuinely disclose some fact about yourself which you think the customer will relate to. Again, never mention anything too personal or that will only scare the customer away. We’re all human and the truth of the matter is that we want—and need—to connect on a level that is beyond the surface. Of course, you’re not going to get beyond surface talk with everyone. However, the idea is to do your best to make a personal connection during the sales talk.
4. Disconnect From Technology
As already discussed, it is important to truly listen to the customer. No one wants to be ignored and feel devalued. You need to learn how to actively listen and respond rather than react. Your response should not be forming in your mind until you have first listened to what the other person is saying. One important way to assist in this process is to disconnect from technology during the course of the conversation. For example, do not keep your cell phone out within reach as you’re talking. You need to focus on the conversation with the customer and not the distractions coming from various text and email notifications sounding on the phone. If you focus more on your hectic lifestyle and what is going on elsewhere, then your customer will know that you are not valuing his or her time.
A successful sales talk with a potential customer begins with you being genuine in your approach. You need to focus on the conversation and remember what the customer is actually saying. Remember to ask targeted questions which will help you to better assist the customer. Take the conversation below the surface and share something personal to better relate to the customer. During this sales talk, disconnect with technology and focus on the customer, not your phone.