I hear a lot of advice that makes me cringe, but this one in particular needs opposition. I heard a fellow solopreneur, whom I respect very much, say this about sales conversations:
The point of sales conversations is for you to do the talking, not your prospect.
I totally and completely disagree with that. In fact, I find it quite offensive. This perhaps begs a larger question about the goal of a sale. There are two dominant views:
- You need to win.
- Both you and your client need to win.
I’m squarely in Camp #2. If I can’t find a win-win, there’s no sale to be had, and I’ll say that to my prospect. Perhaps we can look at the two options in a slightly different way:
- Selling is something you do to someone.
- Selling is something you do with someone.
Without getting too caught up in semantics, it’s important to remember that sales shouldn’t be one-sided. If I have something that can genuinely help someone, at a price at or below what they’re willing to pay, then a sale can be made. And if you’re a disciple of value pricing, I’d argue that you can’t ever rationally support anything but a win-win.
In the early phases of the sale, you (the seller) should only do 20% of the talking, and let your prospect do 80% of the talking. You have to lead the conversation, but your goal is to collect information. The pitch comes much later.
Because after all, how else can you help someone if you don’t know what kind of help they need?
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