Attention Sales World... Are You Having Real Conversations Leading To Real Connections?May 02, 2022
"There is a deep power in words that speak the truth"
P. C. Cast
Allow this to sink for a moment... All progress starts by telling the truth.
With trust and credibility in sales being low already, think about the depth of your conversations.
Are you holding real conversations, leading to real connections?
I ask you to think... are you engaging in conversations that express how you truly feel, think or desire? And then listen and accept how others interact with you?
Conversations that are insincere, inauthentic and meaningless; possibly built around a facade, will get you exposed as being empty.
This reminds me of the book, "Overcoming Fake Talk", written by John Stoker. He goes on to say,
“Fake Talk can be defined as any time a person intentionally misrepresents the truth, is unintentionally vague or unclear, when people go along to be agreeable or not rock the boat, and when people are focused on being politically correct rather than discuss and understand the finer nuances of what is going on."
How many in sales are unintentionally vague or unclear with their communication?
Urban Dictionary has defined "Fake Talk" as,
"The opposite of real talk, something that is not true, can also be substituted for the word B.S."
In other words,
Fake talk is not authentic talk.
A real conversation is between people who are present in the moment, clearly focused and carry themselves with intentionality. Are you present in the moment with your conversations?
Why is having real conversations so difficult? Does it have to be that way?
Why do so many worry about fitting in, and saying the right things?
Why do so many doubt themselves?
Why do so many open conversations with sales jibber-jabber?
When we are so preoccupied with what to say and what is in our heads, we forget to be present and just listen.
WHAT IS A REAL CONVERSATION?
A real conversation serves a purpose. It is the beginning of friendship, the opening or deepening of a relationship. It’s simply connection. It’s sharing stories, ideas, information and opinions.
Relationships begin with a “hello”, learning the art of conversation allows you to foster meaningful connections, strong partnerships and client communities.
In the article "The Patterns of Effective Conversation", Dave Pollard shares a list of purposeful conversations.
To get you thinking about your conversations, here are a few...
- Information: to obtain, surface or convey information or understanding of facts (know-what), processes (know-how) or contacts (know-who). To learn from each other.
- Sense-making: to make sense of something (beyond just obtaining facts), especially a complex issue.
- Perspectives or viewpoints: to obtain different points of view or gain consensus
- Change: to challenge and shift someone’s viewpoint or intentions (mine or others’)
- Ideas: to generate ideas, surface and imagine possibilities
- Deepening or creation of relationships: to connect with other people, to build relationships
Sales professionals engage and connect because they truly care and are committed to building relationships through the art of conversation.
I believe when salespeople are engaged in meaningful conversation, they are more likely to speak the truth openly. And isn't this what you want?
Theodore Zeldin is an Oxford scholar and he went on to say,
"Real conversations catch fire. The kind of conversation I like is one in which you are prepared to emerge a slightly different person.”
Are your conversations catching fire with your clients?
What are your clients learning from you because of your conversations?
A learning conversation leads to connection. This type of conversation is one in which everyone strives to make sense of an issue, actively works to understand the meaning the other person is trying to convey, and where they are each prepared to change their views.
Are these the type of conversations you are having with your clients?
These types of conversations require listening not with the intention to reply but with the intention to understand and help others articulate their thoughts.
Real, open, genuine and authentic conversation is rare, especially in sales and this is concerning.
Meaningful conversation has untapped potential to alter how we interact and relate to each other. Think about how this could be applied to your sales life and how you interact with your clients and future clients.
Love what Brené Brown says,
"Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives."
What would happen if you engaged in curious conversation without any judgment whatsoever?
With your client and future client conversations set expectations for yourself and practice the following:
I will not interrupt. I will encourage. I will pay attention. I will listen, deeply and daringly. I will be present.
SALES PROFESSIONALS REALIZE GENUINE CONVERSATIONS LEAD TO REAL CONNECTIONS
Why is having a genuine conversation a lost sales art? Furthermore, is having a business-focused conversation even more of a lost sales art?
Conversations are the strongest sales tool salespeople have to effectively build credible relationships, connections and collaboration.
Curious to know... When was the last time you had a conversation with a client, or a prospect and you heard this...
“Wow, this was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had!”
Sales professionals facilitate conversations by making someone feel comfortable. They lean in and encourage conversation through curiosity and intentional listening.
Sales professionals understand that a real conversation means they are delivering more than a message, it means they are inviting the other person into the conversation with them.
Healthy business conversations happen when your clients feel safe enough to discuss the “undiscussable”. This can only happen when you make them feel comfortable enough with you that in turn, they become comfortable sharing uncomfortable business issues or challenges.
You never know when one conversation will lead to exponential sales growth.
Conversations build relationships, and relationships drive businesses.
People do not care about your canned pitches, pattern interruptions and all about your messaging.
Stop pitching, puking and pushing conversational crapola and start opening a human connection and conversation.
Sales professionals understand that engaging questions lead to engaging conversation, leading to connection, which leads to relationship building.
SALES PROFESSIONALS AUTHENTICALLY LISTEN IN ORDER TO CONNECT
Authenticity, it's a choice. It's not easy, but it's the difference between just getting by and making it happen.
My question to every sales leader, sales manager and sales rep out there...
What has happened to authenticity and more specifically authenticity within your conversations?
It's not about you nor your company nor your wallet. It's about deeply and genuinely understanding the other person.
When you engage in conversation, remember the person you're in front of may be saying this to themselves:
- Do you see me?
- Do you hear me?
- Does what I say matter to you?
Sales professionals intentionally listen to facilitate deeper conversations, while sales reps listen long enough to interrupt conversations.
BE REAL WITH YOUR CONVERSATIONS
Conversations are the most powerful tool you have at your disposal to foster relationships.
In a connected world, how do you have connected conversations?
Quite simple... You listen with intent. Listen with your heart. Listen to learn. This has a direct impact on your conversations.
Are your conversations filled with business substance or just plain old sales jargon?
Let's all rise-up and unite in how you connect with your clients to encourage healthy and meaningful conversations. This can only happen by truly giving a rip and inviting your clients into conversations, not pushing them away with all your interruptions.
I will leave you with this... imagine for a moment connecting with real conversations to the mind of your client's, thinking together for business betterment, and then where all of this exponential sales growth will take you?