Best Sales Conversation Starters

Aren’t you tired of having the same conversation over, and over, and over again?

You: “Hi, how’s it going? Thanks for taking the time to speak to me today.”

Prospect: “Not a problem. Doing well, just busy. You?”

You: *something safe about the weather*

Prospect: Yeah… it’s been crazy weather recently.

Does this sound painfully familiar?

Your job is to steer the conversation from friendly banter to a conversation that zeros in on your prospect’s needs and identifies how you’re suited to help address them. This is no easy feat.

While well-seasoned salespeople know the secrets to drive productive conversations, fresh-faces sales reps might fall victim to veering off-topic, awkward silences, or failing to ask open-ended questions to spur the conversation further.

Try to answer these questions by the end of your initial conversation with your potential customer:

  1. Do they really need my product or service?
  2. Is my product or service within their price range?

In order to make the most of your time, as well as the time of your prospective customer, follow these tips for best sales conversation starters around your product or service.

Getting the Conversation Started

It’s important to keep these things in mind while initiating the conversation with your prospect. With the below factors taken into account, as well as a great conversation starter for sales,  you’re sure to engage in a more personable interaction.

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Know who you are talking to

This seems obvious; but when you get caught up in your day-to-day sales regime, it’s easy to start automating your outreach and treat all prospects the same.

Do your research ahead of time so you can go into your call at full force, prepared to connect based on your common areas of interest. You don’t want to be caught off-guard when your prospect actually picks up the phone after your numerous attempts to reach out.

Always take note of past interactions

Nothing kills a conversation faster than forgetting what you’ve already covered with a prospect. Always know what your prior touchpoints have looked like and what emails they opened or interacted with. Pro tip: Nimble automatically tracks all email and Twitter engagements for you. You’re welcome!

Don’t sell your product– sell yourself

Let your potential customer do 80% of the talking. If you ask the right questions, it’s easy to glean information on your prospect’s needs and goals without having to drive the conversation. Find the golden questions that will provide you with more information, even if it isn’t totally relevant to your sales pitch.

Be straightforward

“Hey, remember when we met at that one convention? And we talked about that one thing…:”

You and your prospect both know this conversation never actually happened. Be upfront from the beginning of the conversation in regards to where you found their contact information and what you are calling in regards to. Maintain this honesty throughout this entire conversation and the prospect will be sure to appreciate it.

Don’t be a robot

You’re only human — it’s okay to ask for clarification on something your prospect might discuss. In fact, they will probably appreciate your active listening skills. If you’re feeling brave, consider initiating a video chat with your prospect. This adds a more personal touch to your interaction and lets your lead they are more than just a quota to you.

Identifying Your Prospect’s Goals and Ambitions

Take the time to dive into your prospect’s story. Learn about what matters to them, how they got into the industry, what inspired them to pursue their career, and where they see themselves going.

When exploring their organizational goals, ask questions that help flush out the needs of their organization and in such a way that you will be able to associate a dollar value return on investment. Discuss what potential roadblocks might be in the way of achieving their goals and what your product or service can do to help alleviate these setbacks.

Here are a few other sales conversation starters examples that can be asked in order to identify your prospects’ goals and how you can fit into them:

What made you leave your previous company to work at your current job?

You can learn about your prospect’s work history through a simple Linkedin search. This question can help determine what your prospect cares about within their career and professional life.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Knowing the answer to this question will help you determine what makes your potential customer tick and how to get them excited about your product or service.

What’s a day in the life of [prospect’s name] like?

It’s important to know how much time your prospect spends at work per day. This enables you to understand how they prioritize their tasks on a day-to-day basis and provides you with an opportunity to build a rapport with them by relating to their work ethic.

What went well in the past year for you? Where would you like to improve within the next year?

By strategically avoiding highlighting the “what went wrong” aspect of your prospect’s last year. Digging into the year’s biggest accomplishments and areas of improvement will help you find the right angle to pitch your product or service.

The Nitty Gritty

Now that the conversation is headed in a constructive direction, it’s time to dive into the specifics of the sale.

Determine their budget

This will probably be the most sensitive part of the conversation. By this point, you’ve gotten a grasp on your prospect’s needs. But now, it’s time to pivot and see if your product or service fits into their annual budget.

Ask indirect questions pertaining to their company’s priorities and how their projects tend to get funded. It would also be helpful to know how much support a project your product or service can be applied to receives from an executive level and discuss how you can justify the investment based on return on investment. Is your sales pitch already dead in the water?  

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Confirm the buying process

Although the first conversation you have with your prospect may not end with a sale, it’s important to get an understanding of their decision-making process and how many people are involved in the process.

To address any obstacles that might get in the way of the sale moving forward, hash out all of the preliminary information such as decision-makers and the people who influence the decision, as well as budget and timing considerations. Although these may seem like very direct sales conversation starters, they will save you and your prospect a lot of time in the long run.

Using Nimble to FindGood Conversation Starters for Sales

An effective and simple way to determine a good icebreaker with a potential buyer is by tapping into the convenience of Nimble’s Smart Profiles.

Nimble uncovers information such as work history and company insights including biography, location, areas of influence, experience, education, and social profiles. It will also automatically keep your contact records up to date, allowing you to stay in touch with all of your hottest prospects at every stage of the sales funnel.

Using the information Nimble provides, you’ll be able to spark a more meaningful connection right off the bat; your prospect will feel as though you’ve made a point to truly get to know who they are versus simply trying to meet your sales quota.

Equipped with a grasp of where your prospect came from, where they’re going, and what drives them will make the world of difference when initiating the relationship.

You can also tune into the social signals from your Today Page dashboard. This feature allows you to discover engagement opportunities with some of your key prospects by viewing their Twitter profiles, life events, and more.

The Today Page also gives you a clear, customizable dashboard view of your sales pipelines, calendar appointments, and follow-up tasks, providing you with everything you need to prioritize tasks to build better relationships.

Conclusion

If you master the art of conversation starters for sales, you’ll learn valuable information about your prospects that will build the foundation of a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. Finding creative and meaningful ways to connect with and engage your network will ultimately fill your sales funnel with promising opportunities and more closed deals.

The best conversation starters for sales address are productive, yet friendly. Finding the right balance of professional and personable is pivotal for starting the conversation on the right foot. Ultimately, this first interaction should aim to identify your prospect’s goals and how you can help achieve them while making their life a little easier.