You have a great sales prospect call about to start. You are certain that you have the perfect solution for their needs. Your instinct may be to jump right in after the introductions and tell them all about it.
Rattling off a long monologue is an easy trap to fall into on a sales call, even for experienced sellers. A two-minute (or so) overview of your products or services is certainly welcomed by most prospects, particularly those unfamiliar with your organization. Think twice before launching into a 10-minute speech, however. You may feel like you are spitting fire, but very few people enjoy listening to someone else talk at them for a long stretch of time.
A more effective approach is to pivot to a dialogue after the initial value proposition. Research the prospect in advance of the initial sales call, both as an individual and the company. This will help you tailor your questions so they draw out pain points that you can address. This way you can still make those great points you have in mind, but they will flow naturally in the conversation. The prospect will feel your points more authentically when they come from a discussion, particularly if you come across as listening to hear them instead of listening simply to respond. Brief success stories that you share about other customers you have helped with similar challenges will resonate all the more when they emerge organically during a dialogue.
Maintaining the dialogue requires some discipline. Avoid interrupting the prospect when they are speaking. If you have a great point to make, write it down as a note so that you do not lose it. When you break in while the prospect is speaking, not only can it come across as rude, but you may stop them in their tracks just as they are about to share some key information.
Monologuing on a sales call typically comes from a place of good intentions – a desire to be helpful and act as an expert. However, you risk making the prospect feel that the conversation is more about you than about them. It is more effective to guide the prospect to the same conclusions through smart questions and thoughtful answers. In doing so, you are more likely to make the discussion centered around them. Spend more time asking good questions and listening, and less time talking and you may find that some prospects start to convince themselves.