Small talks and sales conversations in 2020
Sales are all about conversations. Small talk is one type of conversation a sales professional needs to master in order to create trust and comfortable buying atmosphere. A good small talk, also sets the stage for the core sales conversations which will arrive later in the process.
As a young man working with my father on our family distribution business, I had a front seat to one of the best small talk artists I have ever seen until today. While I was eager to do business and start presenting the nice presentation I prepared, my father would always take the small talk way too far in my young perspective.
Listening & asking questions
He would ask the person where they are from and where they went to school in search of common contacts and similar life milestones. Then moves to quickly scan their offices looking for clues on similarities and common interests or even family pictures which can all make great conversation topics to create a more intimate and close feeling. Once he would feel like he touched the right spot, he would then ask deep interest questions and admires the life path the other side slowly started reveling while relating and sharing a bit of himself in each step of the way.
Who people buy from?
I would sit there like the bored teenager I was, thinking these guys don’t understand business and the value of time, hoping they will finish this soon. Boy, how wrong was I. Business and management are done between people. The way people interact, form relationships, create mutual trust and respect is by conversations. People buy from people they like.
It’s not a wonder I was thinking how I thought when I was younger. The world I grew up in was very different than my father’s. No one ever offered my father to purchase something online until his late 40’s. Every transaction or deal he made until then, required at least a minimal conversation/human interaction. Back then people bought only from people they trusted. These days we often make buying decisions without any human involved, however what was right then is still right now, trust is essential in any sales process . Online marketers are going out of their way to make landing pages, Check out pages, and chat bots as friendly and reassuring as possible. From my perspective, it only shows the great impact of good sales professional’s that know how to gain the buyer trust by conversation.
The New world sales conversation challenge
Today we are surrounded by new types of conversations. Much of them are by digital interfaces such as Email, WhatsApp, Messenger Facebook, Telegram and more. Some of them are actually conducted when there is no human on the other side, but a bot.
A major challenge of sales managers today is to create the same level of trust and relationship with the human on the other side of that digital conversations. Another challenge, is to teach sales teams comprised of Millennial’s those interpersonal skills to strengthen the bond and create a solid business relationship when they actually meet the customer face to face.
What can you do to improve your small talk skills
In one of my former roles as Sales Director for a successful global electronics manufacturer, I traveled all around the world to meet with clients. Traveling as a sales professional can be very lonely, so interactions with strangers became one of the ways I could pass the time and work on my small talk skills. I did it in Airports, flights, hotel check-in lines, trains, cab rides etc. it was a great way to practice, pass the time and actually to meet new and interesting people.
It always amazed me to see how much personal information people are willing to share if you show real interest, ask the right questions and just listen. It became my goal to check how quickly I can charm them and how deep I can get into their world. Knowing I will use the same skills in the meeting room later on when I meet my client.
The Bseller way
Training these interpersonal skills to manage small talks is instrumental in achieving effective customer conversations and better sales results. When I decided to start Bseller with my partner Yair, we reviewed all that we have learned along the years on small talks, sales conversations, networking, how to create real relationships. After a few mixes and updates to the modern sales world, we combined it together into a bank of methods and tools that can be learned and practiced by any sales professional interested in self-improvement and better results. We also took into account the multiple platforms sales professionals are using today to interact with customers. I must say, these new platforms are a game changer in terms of connectivity and accessibility. However, it can cause harm to the process when misused.
This knowledge will not only make you a better sales professional. With the right practice, these methods and tools will make you a better person, partner and a friend to many people you will meet along the way. People that would be willing to buy from you and also help you, refer customers to you and become part of your personal audience for the long term.