Think of the number of interactions we have each day – how many of those interactions are more than two minutes long? And at the end of the day, how my of those interactions do we actually remember? When we have conversations, being prepared is the key to helping your customers love what you have to offer them in a short amount of time, not just with your product or service, but with you as a person. So the big question is: how can a salesperson be genuinely interested in a transaction and a customer without coming off as overbearing?
Practice and preparation.
Customer relationships don’t necessarily develop overnight – it may take months of short interactions to have a positive impact. Much of the time, when we have conversations with folks, we don’t have the opportunity to practice. That’s why the people that work on the front lines are so lucky! They can have the same conversation with three people and three different outcomes. They can then analyze and adjust their next similar conversation based on those three initial interactions. Having conversational skill comes with practice, and the front line has the benefit of repetition and practicing their content on a daily basis.
A helpful trick in making sure you have an impactful conversation with a customer or client might be to write down some conversation topics that you can use, related to the transaction or sales discussion, and some topics that might be used as “Get to Know You” discussion tools. Examples of this can be as simple as asking about family or hobbies or activities that you may pick up details about during your interactions. “How about that weather” does not count! Use topics that you feel will truly improve your relationship and have an impact while still keeping the conversation from becoming long-winded or forced. Elaborating on comments made by customers in passing that would normally be ignored or go unnoticed shows a genuine interest and will encourage customers to further engage in future interactions. After coming up with your conversation topics, practice with your peers and keep notes of what works and what might not be as effective.
After your practice, it’s time to put those conversation topics to the test! Use them with your customers and note the effects that you noticed. Now that you have a start to your arsenal of conversation topics, you can add and edit as you go. The more you practice, the less you will need to refer to your list. When having conversations with customers, adapt as you go, and do your best to remember what was discussed with each person. That way, the next time you get the opportunity to have another short conversation, you can recall what was discussed in your previous interaction. This lets your customer know that you are paying attention and genuinely are interested in your conversation with them. Not only will this improve the quality of your conversation, but it will give your short-interaction relationship a boost!
Coaching to the quick interactions will do wonders for your front line and their customer relationships, as they are the face of your office. Team morale is just as important improvement, so by sharing with peers and relating to each other, your front line will know that they are not in the process of improvement alone.