The Single Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales with Any Prospect

Do you want to know the best way to start a conversation in sales? First, know this…

Many buyers dread meeting with salespeople.

Why? Because salespeople are selfish—at least that’s what buyers seem to think.

In one survey, 44% of buyers report that the primary reason they don’t enjoy meeting with salespeople is because salespeople have their own agenda and the buyer feels pressured.

Another 25% say that it’s because salespeople only care about themselves and making a sale.

Combined, that’s a whopping 69% of buyers who are tired of meeting with salespeople who don’t care about the buyer’s needs.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Once you learn the best way to start a conversation in sales, you’ll stand out from other pushy salespeople as a trusted advisor your prospect actually wants to meet.

The key is to be prepared with conversation starters for virtually any situation.

In this video and article, I’m going to share the best way to start a conversation in sales—whether you’re looking for ways to start a sales call or need a plan for face-to-face meetings.

Check it out.

Pitching Isn’t the Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales

Best way to start a conversation in sales- Pitching Isn’t the Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales

Pitching features and benefits won’t keep prospects engaged.

Most salespeople start their conversations with prospects by pitching.

These salespeople describe the benefits of their products or services, then tout the amazing features of their companies.

This is totally wrong.

Instead of using the best way to start a conversation in sales, you’re totally focused on yourself and your own company.

But prospects don’t care about you! They only care about themselves.

That’s why a pitch will never keep your prospect engaged and excited.

Stop pitching, and start using an approach that will set you apart from the competition and get the prospect to perceive you as an expert.

Keep reading to learn a very simple three-step approach to the best way to start a conversation in sales.

#1: Show that you know what’s going on in their marketplace.

Best way to start a conversation in sales- show that you know what is going on in their marketplace

Use your unique perspective as a salesperson to offer value to prospects.

Instead of pitching your product or service, the best way to start a conversation in sales is to create more value.

When prospects see that you know what’s going on in their sector or industry, you’re going to come off as THE expert.

The best way to start a conversation in sales is to share patterns you’ve observed from your bird’s eye view as a salesperson of other companies like theirs.

Once they see your expertise and your willingness to share valuable insights with them, they’re going to stop and say, “Maybe I should listen to this person.”

Now that you know to get your prospect’s attention by showing value, you’re ready to move on to the second step of the best way to start a conversation in sales.

#2: List off three common challenges.

Best way to start a conversation in sales- List off three common challenges

Move from pitching products to solving challenges.

The next step to master the best way to start a conversation in sales is to list off three very common challenges that you see going on in the marketplace.

Of course, these should always be challenges that you help solve.

This may sound simple, but I’ve found that failure to do this correctly is one of the most common mistakes salespeople make.

I’d start with, “Right now, I’m seeing a lot of companies that are struggling with A, B, and C.”

By listing three challenges you’ve observed, it once again shows you know what’s going on in their world.

This is a key selling habit that establishes your expertise and

is the absolute best way to start a conversation in sales.

For example, I’ll often say something like, “A lot of companies right now that I see in the marketplace are losing sales to low-cost competitors. They’re frustrated with old-school sales techniques that simply aren’t working on savvy prospects, or they’re finding it more difficult than ever to set really good quality sales meetings.”

As you can see, I list off three simple challenges that are very likely to be relevant to my prospect.

This is a great conversation starter that will lead you to discover your prospect’s deepest frustration.

What are those challenges that your prospects are facing that you solve?

Think about those, write them out, then start using them as part of the best way to start a conversation in sales with your ideal customer.

When you stop pitching and start solving problems for your customer, you’ll build rapport and close more deals.

#3: Engage them with a question.

Best way to start a conversation in sales- engage them with a question

Ask thoughtful questions to ensure your meeting is a two-way conversation.

The last step to the best way to start a conversation in sales is to engage the prospect with a question.

Simply tie everything off with a bow by asking something like, “Do any of those issues ring true to you?

As simple as it sounds, this really is one of the best tips to close more sales.

This is key to getting your prospects talking and encouraging them to engage with their challenges.

As long as you’re talking to a qualified prospect, they’ll likely respond, “Yeah, actually, we are dealing with one of those challenges.”

Now you can dig into that challenge, and the interaction is off to the races—which is what makes this approach the best way to start a conversation in sales.

Conclusion: Build Trust with Prospects Using the Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales

Best way to start a conversation in sales- Conclusion: Build Trust with Prospects Using the Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales

Boost your closing ratio by establishing yourself as a trusted expert in your field.

These three steps to the best way to start a conversation in sales are simple, but they accomplish a lot of things all at once.

First, it’s going to get your prospect to see you as an expert and someone who really knows what’s going on in the marketplace.

Second, it’s going to help you really engage any prospect in an effective sales conversation.

Finally, it’s going to set you up to take that sales conversation down a very powerful path where you discuss how you can help solve problems for your customers.

This is the key to having a really, really effective sales conversation and ultimately winning more sales.

Remember to follow these three easy steps to use the best way to start a conversation in sales with any prospect.

Step one is to show you know what’s going on in the marketplace.

As a salesperson, you have a unique perspective of industry trends and common challenges.

This makes you insanely valuable to prospects.

Share your knowledge with prospects, and they’ll see you as someone who is looking out for their best interests instead of your own.

This is a great way to get prospects to pay attention.

Step two is to list off three common challenges.

This builds off of step one, because you’ll use your experience in sales to share your insight on challenges your customers have faced.

Remember to choose challenges that your product or offering is actually designed to solve.

If the prospect doesn’t face one of those challenges, they’re probably not a good fit. Disqualify them and move on to prospects worth pursuing.

The third and final step of the best way to start a conversation in sales is to engage the prospect with a question.

Best Way to Start a Conversation in Sales: The Single Best Way to Start a Conversation with Any Prospect

Something as simple as, “Did any of this ring true with your experience?” will set you up for an effective conversation where you ultimately seal a sales deal.

Now that you know three simple steps to the best way to start a conversation in sales, I want to hear from you.

How do you usually start a conversation in sales? What are the results? How will you change your approach based on these tips?

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below to join the conversation.

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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