During my years of selling and delivering sales training, I’ve had thousands of conversations myself and listened to tens of thousands of other people’s sales calls and meetings. No client conversation is identical, of course, but the basic structure is largely the same. You’ll ask similar questions and mention the same key selling points of your product or service. Either side of asking and selling, you’ll need to introduce yourself and, at the end, agree a next step.
In almost all cases, consistently structured sales conversations win the day over those salespeople who ‘just wing it’. By the way, most of those who think they wing it, don’t; they just fail to recognise how structured their conversations have become.
There are many different sales structures with somewhere between 4 and 8 steps, and each one of them has its merits. I’ll introduce you now to the one I’ve used for the past decade in our sales training programmes but I recognise the benefits offered by others too. The key is that you are more likely to be successful if you believe in a structure that you follow consistently. In the spirit of Einstein’s famous quote about simplicity – “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” – my structure for sales conversations has just 4 steps.
STEP 1 – EARN THE RIGHT TO SPEAK
The first step of any sales conversation is to earnthe right to speak. Give your prospective customer a reason to speak to you today. If they see a benefit in speaking with you, they will answer your questions. As they answer, you will build an understanding of what they want and discover whether you can help. However, if you jump straight to asking questions or straight to selling, a prospective client will quickly switch off. The first thing they want to know when you start speaking is: what is the potential benefit of this conversation for me?
STEP 2 – ASK QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND CLIENT AND THEIR NEEDS
Step two in a productive, consultative sales conversation is to askquestions. This is the most important part of any sales conversation and a brilliant skill for everyone, no matter what job they do. Through asking questions, you learn about your client, understand what they’re looking for, why they want it, and how they want to buy it. This makes the sales step of your conversation more tailored, better informed and more relevant for your prospective buyer. In effect, you are simply matching your products or services to the needs they have already expressed.
STEP 3 – SELL PRODUCT / SERVICE TO MATCH CLIENT NEEDS
No matter how consultative you are, no matter how long you take to understand your client, you don’t make any money unless you succeed in selling something. However, that step – the step many think of as a first step – does not come until the penultimate stage of a sales conversation. The sales pitch with no understanding of client need is difficult to deliver and unlikely to succeed in a sale. An informed, tailored sales pitch well matched to a client’s needs is much more likely to help both buyer and seller.
STEP 4 – YES OR NO TO AGREED NEXT STEP
[AJ1] At the end of a productive sales conversation, it makes sense to agree a next step. Each buying process has a few stages and you should agree the next immediate step. You’re not always asking for a yes or no to buying the product or service but you should always ask for an agreement to the next simple, logical step of the buying process.
E.A.S.Y. SALES STRUCTURE
- E ARN
- A SK
- S ELL
- Y ES or NO
The E.A.S.Y. sales structure has already helped thousands of salespeople sell better more consistently. Like almost every skill in life, we can improve ourselves through following the simple equation of STRUCTURE + PRACTICE = SUCCESS.