Conversation with a stranger is up there on the ‘scariest thing ever’ list for a majority of the population. A recently concluded study found that in its nationwide sample a full 74% of people were confirmed sufferers of speech anxiety or Glossophobia/Sociophobia.
Speech anxiety is usually ranked above escalators, deep water, insects and even death in the ‘Worst Human Fears’ index. So there’s a pretty good chance that the butterflies in your belly before beginning a conversation belong.
The Velocity Selling training system incorporates a few simple practical methods for bolstering your conversation credentials, as well as a short list of things to maintain when conversing with clients. These simple tips can be applied in just about any setting you find yourself in; a business networking mixer, a relaxed social gathering or even meeting a customer on a showroom floor. Once your conversation starts, keeping it moving will be simple.
How to Start the Conversation
According to the methods of the Velocity Selling training system, the most effective asset in any conversation is questions. Quality questions will drive an engaging and conformable conversation which will create an atmosphere of mutual respect. It is vital that you always appear interested, genuine and accepting in your questioning, so only ask a question when it is worth asking.
Origin stories are a great place to start (look at what it did for super heroes). A simple “So, what industry are you in?” will give you some information and allow you to develop your dialogue to suit the individual. Always be prepared to follow up with further inquiry questions:
- “How did you get into that?”,
- “What motivated you to move into that field?” or even a simple
- “How do you mean?”
These are all examples of open ended questions that will allow you to:
Motivate sharing and information exchange.
From this point on there are a few helpful concepts that can be used in just about any conversation:
- Ask open ended questions: these are questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Open ended questions allow people to talk about themselves, to open up and to tell you their story.
- Create a mental image that says ‘no one cares about me or my business and I care deeply about theirs’: offering unqualified attention and understanding will build trust in you and your opinions.
- Question everything and assume nothing: the more you know about context and circumstances the better placed you are to add value to your services and their business.
- If you hit an awkward silence, ask a better question: re-framing a question to be more relevant or less challenging or defaulting to a simpler and generic idea will get your conversation back on track. If a question about problems in a business gets a cold shoulder switch the focus to their competition. The problem and the competition may be the same thing but the change in approach distances your conversation partner from a sticky topic.
It’s All About Connecting.
Above all else remember that all communication is Human to Human communication. Whether be it Business to Business, Business to Customer, Internal, External, Operational or Existential, all communication is essentially Human to Human and the Velocity Selling training system can show you exactly how to do just that.
When you start framing your questions and responses in an open, accessible and easily digestible manner you will maintain ongoing dialogue and paint yourself as an understanding, empathetic, and trustworthy individual.
Are you interested in learning how to make meaningful connections through successful sales conversations?