Your sales pipeline is filling up with leads from your your latest SoPro campaign – check out our live stats to see us work our magic. And now it’s over to you.
Pick up that phone, build rapport and get that meeting booked in the diary. But how do you start the sales conversation?
Getting off on the wrong foot is a sure-fire way to kick a lead into touch. What you need are some sales conversation starters that kick ass (in the politest possible way). We’ve already looked how you can use cognitive biases to your advantage, but right now we’re going to ditch all that psychological theory and offer you practical, actionable ways to start sales conversations that will ease your lead gently down the funnel.
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10 real-life sales conversation starters to start using today
“How do you know Hannah?” It takes seconds to compare your connections on LinkedIn and see those that you mutually share.
Asking this open-ended conversation encourages your lead to relax and talk informally about themselves. You never know, they may even reveal something that you can use to discuss your product or service, such as a job change, industry event or membership of a trade body.
And, if nothing else, you’ve established common ground between the two of you.
“I saw you had a great quarter – how do you see the next few months progressing?” Holy cow, Batman, this guy has done his research.
Realising that you have taken an interest in your lead’s company – and are actually pretty knowledgeable about it – is a big plus point.
But the biggest gain from this question is that it immediately encourages reflection on why growth occurred and what is needed to maintain it.
This is your cue to subtly segue into their pain points and the solutions you offer.
“Did you read Mr. Industry Bigwig’s prediction that the threat from China could slow our national sector’s growth by as much as 30%. I’m not sure I agree – what do you think?” This tactic is very similar to the one above – except instead of showing awareness of a particular company it reveals your knowledge about debates and opinions about the sector in general.
You’re up to date and you have your finger on the pulse – give yourself a gold star.
Once again, you’re also encouraging your lead to open up and outline the biggest concerns they have at the moment – and, perhaps, some of the solutions they are considering.
“What do you see as your major business challenges in the coming year?” This is a variant of the question above – without the gold stars for following the latest thought leadership.
“What is it you think we do?” On the face of it this is a challenging rather than inviting question – but, introduced with the right tone of voice, it is a real winner.
To start with, you’ll quickly learn which aspects your lead is most interested in. Secondly, you’ll hear the names of competitors that spring to their mind. And, thirdly, you’ll be able to quickly correct any misconceptions or emphasise any aspects underplayed or not understood fully.
“What is on the top of your priorities list this year?”
Understanding the lead’s main goal – the thing that could make the most positive change for them – is your route to understanding how to position your product or service. Which is sales starter dynamite that can blow the door wide open.
“I’m so glad you followed up on my mail. What was it about my company that grabbed your interest?”
It really doesn’t have to be a headache to find those pain points. What made your lead first hit reply is what they most want from you. So, let them tell you all about it.
“What’s the biggest thing that stops you achieving your goals and how do you plan to solve it?”
These questions invite your lead to take control of the conversation, in a way that allows you to learn the most possible about the sort of solution they are looking for. And, then together you can start making a strategy to resolve it.
“What’s your least favourite part of your job?”
Rather more subtly this question probes pain points without explicitly naming them. In many ways it is an easier question to answer than being asked about ‘business pain points’.
What is it that interested you about your industry/job role?
This question is a polite and less intrusive way of asking about someone’s goals and what they need to accomplish to feel satisfied in their role. As such, it’s a great way for you to align your offering with the interests of your lead.
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