In a digital age, it’s easier than ever for buyers to wander down the decision-making path without ever speaking to a sales rep. However, buyers can’t get all the information they need online. When they’re ready to interact with a sales professional, your sales team must be equipped with the right communication skills to elevate the conversation.

Julie Thomas, president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, says that a stronger human-to-human connection is what’s needed to close bigger deals faster. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline Thomas’ thoughts on three ways you can help your sales team level up their communication skills.

1. Ask informed questions. A primary objective with any sales conversation is to gain knowledge and understanding of the prospect’s business objectives and pain points. To gain this insight, Thomas says that your sales team must do their homework to get a firm grasp on the prospect’s industry and specific business issues. By asking probing questions, your sales reps will expand on the prospect’s view of a business problem or bring other issues to the surface. This will enable your team to discover the prospect’s challenges and how your solutions satisfy their business issues.

2. Employ empathy. Top sales performers know how to engage and demonstrate empathy with someone’s burdensome business issue, according to Thomas. Without empathy, we can’t fully understand the problems prospects might be facing in relation to our product. Empathizing with prospects is helpful to sales professionals because determining where prospects have problems is the most obvious path to close a sale. Listening and showing that you honestly care about a customer’s business builds rapport and that human-to-human connection.

3. Elevate the conversation. One of the keys to value-based selling is elevating conversations with buyers from focusing strictly on the technical problem your product or service solves, to the business issues of the buyer’s organization, notes Thomas. To make the human-to-human connection, salespeople can shape their company’s unique value proposition into a selling value proposition that more easily expresses the relevant value of the product or service they are selling to the individual buyer. Think of your company’s value proposition as the macro promise to your universe of customers, while the selling value proposition is helping Joe in Cincinnati. The selling value proposition helps the buyer at an individual level measure the value of your product and justify making the purchase.

Often, your sales approach matters just as much as the product you’re selling. Your prospects are just like you: They’re people who welcome authentic relationships. While it might be tempting to rely on emails or texts, there’s no substitute for establishing a meaningful connection with prospects and clients.

Is your team asking the right questions, empathizing with prospects and elevating the conversation? When they do, you end up with stronger human-to-human connections. In sales, those connections make all the difference.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Julie Thomas, president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author and consultant with more than 24 years of experience in sales.