Friday, 17 February 2012

Conversations- make the most of your opportunities

How you speak to your customers, clients, co-workers, or prospective employers- whether in person, over the phone, or even in an email, is of critical importance. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, there will be some form of conversation.

Quite likely, you will already have had some success in achieving your goals, even more likely there have been those moments when you have not made your point, or the sale has fallen through. Of course, you're not alone there, but there are plenty of steps we can take to make our conversations more successful.  

I'm going to go through some of these with you, the more of these you use, the more successful you will become. Should there be something you disagree with, choose not to use it, anything that doesn't sit well, will impact your confidence, and lower your success rate!

  • Take control of the conversation- this doesn't mean being rude or shouting. With practise it becomes easier and easier. Don't ask closed questions that could destroy a pitch before you've even started e.g. - "Can I check this for you?" rather "Let me check that for you" or "Can I tell why I'm here?" instead "Let me tell why I'm here". It's a subtle change that gently removes the option to dismiss your proposal. It guarantees you're able to talk about almost anything you like, want or need.
  • Discover what the problem is you are trying to provide a solution for. The more you know about the issues, the more you are in a position to understand the complexities that might crop up and bring about an objection, the less objections you have to overcome, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Ask open-ended questions - Giving the option to close down the conversation before you've had any impact or a chance to make your pitch or point, gives you a good chance of losing straight away. Think about phrasing questions beginning with Who, What, Where and How instead of Do, Will and Is. Open questions are all about discovery, and reveal far more information than closed questions. For example, "Does your business use the internet?” can be answered with a simple yes or no. Changing this to "How does your business use the internet?" could reveal far more information- "We use it to search out new product lines, and our customers can order from all over the country". 
  • Ask closed questions- Ask them at the right time of course. "Do you like that?"; "Does that do what you want?" Closed questions help set the information you've taken, and the solution you've proposed in stone, if you've had a real quality conversation, this is almost a formality.

These are by no means exhaustive, take time to notice how your conversations go, lead it where you want it to go!

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