What’s the best way of inspiring a new starter to get away from reading the pitch word for word and getting some small talk/banter into the conversation?
This is a challenge for many people new to sales, as the pitch becomes their comfort blanket. So there are a couple of ways to inspire and teach them to get away from reading the script.
Firstly I would encourage them to find out 1 thing about the individual they are calling, which will force them to ask questions and go off track.
Secondly, I would get them to use a technique called ‘tag on’ questioning. As an example, if I was to say ‘that’s not in my top 3 priorities right now’, my tag on would be ‘so what are in your top 3 priorities at present?’
If the response was ‘I’m looking at cutting costs at present’, I could respond with ‘what activities are you undertaking to cut costs?’
This technique enables the sales person to create a natural flowing conversation without having to read the questions or the script.
Another technique is the ‘statement question’. To make it more conversational and less of an interrogation, you make a statement prior to some of the open questions you ask. So I may say something like ‘I always struggle to prioritize tasks when there are no urgent deadlines in place, how do you go about doing this?’
A good suggestion to help new starters is to have a list of all the open questions up on a poster where it’s visible to them: How, What, Why, Where, When, Who, Which. This should encourage them to ask open questions and have real conversations, as opposed to a scripted questionnaire.
My final tip to relax them and ensure they don’t just stick to the script is to play a game – the first person to name a song title within the call. This can be good fun and helps the sales person relax and get into a real conversation – ‘Guess that’s why they call it the blues’ was my best achievement on a sales call!