Small Talk is for Small Sales.

“How’s the weather over there?”

“Enjoying the heat?”
“Did you see the game last night?”
“Man, it’s sure raining out there!”

Chatter. Chitchat. Babble. Blabber. Jabber. Small talk.

Anything about the weather, television, movies, or sports…it’s all small talk.

Small talk is conversation for conversation sake. Small talk is meaningless yapping about nothing at all. Small talk is safe, but it accomplishes nothing of value. It’s a restatement of the obvious. Small talk is for small sales.

What you need is something more meaningful. Something more engaging. A conversation starter, not a time-waster. A warm-up for the sale, not a nervous exchange. A thought-provoking start, not a bunch of fluff. What you need is a great open that puts you on the path to making a sale, instead of making small talk. Can you imagine going back to your office saying, “Hey Boss, I didn’t make the sale…but we really agreed about the fact that it’s been so hot lately!”

Eliminate the small talk from your sales process and you’ll be on your way to earning bigger sales.

Instead of five minutes of “winging it” or “shooting the breeze,” walk in ready to rock with a focused line of questioning that gets your prospect thinking and engaged in conversation about things that earn you respect, the right to come back again and, a better shot at making the sale.
The more thought-provoking your conversation, the more likely you are to become perceived as a person of value. The more valuable you become, the less you will be perceived as a salesperson. For why you should do anything and everything to become perceived as anything other than a salesperson, read The Stigma of Sales.

A few more thoughts:
1. The deeper your relationship with your prospect or customer, the deeper your conversations will be. That’s a report card for your chances of earning the sale.

2. How well you open determines whether you’ll close. When salespeople ask me what’s the most important part of the sales process, I always answer “The approach!”

3. To prepare your prospect for a more productive discussion, send a brief agenda in advance of your meeting. Nothing too formal…just some bullet points so that your prospect knows where you’re going together.

4. The best way to engage a prospect in a meaningful conversation is by asking powerful questions. It’s not “Hi, Bob, how are you doing today?” It’s “Bob, how did you get started in this business?” or “Bob, what are you most proud of in your role here?” Check out Don’t Ask. Don’t Sell. for guidelines for creating your own power questions.

5. Come with a few ideas for your prospect. Ideas about them and their business. Ideas about their productivity, profitability, efficiency or image. Bring big ideas, because big ideas lead to big sales.

Prepare for your next sales call. Create a plan. Write and rehearse your questions in advance. And walk out of your next meeting with the only thing that counts – THE SALE!

image credit: RubberBall Productions

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