Running your own creative business is hard work. One thing many biz owners get tripped up by is selling because there are so many icky feelings centered around it. (I’m raising my hand!)
But, we can’t let those feelings trip us up. Instead, we need to remember the easiest way to sell is to have a conversation with the prospective client. When you think about it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad, right?
I just finished an amazing book, We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee, that digs into the art of conversation. This book opened my eyes to the mistakes we’re all making in everyday conversation. Just being aware of these mistakes will make your conversations even better.
Because selling your good or service is just having a conversation, I wanted to share my top 6 takeaways because they will improve your every day and sales conversations.
6 Tips to Improve Your Sales Conversations
1. Be present. Stop multitasking (Guilty as charged!). Put your phone away or close your browser window and listen. Stop thinking about your to do list and listen. When you take the time to truly listen to a prospective client (not “multitasking listening”), you will develop a better understanding of their needs and be able to ask better questions (which is #3 on this list!).
2. Can’t be present? Be honest. Let the other person know you don’t have the energy to truly listen. It’s so much kinder to let them know before the conversation happens so they can be heard and you can listen.
3. Ask good questions. Don’t ask simple yes or no questions. Dive deeper and ask open-ended questions. Start questions with who, what, when, where and why.
4. Let ideas come and go. Go with the flow. If you think of a good question or story to share, you will end up not listening because you are too busy formulating your question or story. Instead, write down any thoughts or questions you might have on a piece of paper and keep on listening.
Stephen Covey said it best, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
5. Enter every conversation assuming you have something learn. Set aside your opinions and beliefs and listen. It’s okay if you don’t agree with the person, there is still something you can learn from each and every person on this earth.
6. Don’t repeat yourself. If there’s an important point you are trying to make, don’t just keep repeating it. It’s rude, irritating, and they got it the first time you mentioned it.
Now, go and apply these tips to everyday conversations, sales calls, and more. You will have better conversations because of them.
If you want to learn more about having great conversations, pick up We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee and watch her TED Talk where she offers up more actionable tips.