Being a business conversationalist may be a skill that is often underutilised. Have you ever thought that how you start a conversation may have a huge influence on how your sales go? How often have you swooped in to ask your conversation companion about their needs before even finding out their name or saying hello sincerely? Going straight for the kill may be losing you business. Let’s look at how to converse to make sales or build a good network.
1. Greet your customer
We have become accustomed to jumping into a conversation without first greeting our customers well. Take the time to say hello and ask them how they are, before moving into the sales pitch. By starting well with a greeting, you begin to build a rapport and your customer is more likely to listen to your sales pitch further along in the meeting.
2. Show an interest in the person
Depending on which environment you are meeting someone in, it will help you to decide what small talk will be appropriate. Ask about their family, where they heard about the event you are both attending, or what they thought about the keynote speaker. During this small talk try to avoid negative topics like politics, gossip, or negative news. Try to find common ground with your speaking companion.
3. Listen attentively
How many times have you asked a question and then started to formulate your answer without actively listening to what your customer or fellow networking attendee had to say? Not listening attentively shows that we actually have no true interest in what the other person has to say, and we just want to push our agenda. By listening actively, we can formulate questions that can help us build a clear picture of the person we are speaking to.
4. Own up to your mistakes
If you have offended someone or made them feel uncomfortable, apologise. We all make mistakes, but few people acknowledge them. By facing your mistake and trying to remedy it, you have created an environment to build rapport and trust with your colleague, customer, or fellow events attendee.
5. Share the conversation
Yes, you may be a fountain of good advice but take time to have a balanced conversation. Let there be lulls in the conversation as you gather your thoughts and share your ideas. Give the person who you are talking to time to share their ideas. By having a balanced conversation, you will allow the person to know that you respect them.
6. End the conversation politely
Sometimes conversations come to a natural end but if there is a long silence and you would like to move on to another conversation, bid the person farewell politely. Say goodbye and if you would like to speak to the person again ask for a card.
7. Keep notes
When you have finished a conversation, write down some notes about the person you met especially if you will contact them again. The simple act of writing down notes will solidify the facts in your mind and should you see them again in another setting you will have some facts or information to use to speak to them. In addition, this may improve someone’s opinion of you as they will know that you were attentive when they spoke.
By following these seven easy steps, you are on your way to being a great business conversationalist who will build good rapport with people you meet and, hopefully should the opportunity arise, make excellent sales.
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