Sales Coach Christine Harrington
Sales Conversations

Best Way to Begin a Sales Conversation

There’s an extraordinary difference between a pitch and a sales conversation. What’s more disquieting are salespeople who use a pitch believing they are having a sales conversation. In this article, we will delve into the differences, but more importantly, the best way to begin a sales conversation.

Pitch vs Sales Conversation

Do you start a sales conversation like this..

My company has been in the xyz marketplace for 30 years. We dominate in these areas…

That’s a pitch…not a sales conversation. A pitch is centered around you, and your product/services. Often times it sounds like a litany of features and benefits with little to do with problem-solving. 

There is a place for a pitch….in front of the sharks on SharkTank. For the average buyer or prospect, a pitch will get you nowhere fast.

What if you start the conversation with an approach that engages the prospect? This will take restraint at the highest level NOT to pitch your product though. Are you up to the task? I hope so!

Instead of pitching to the prospect, engage the prospect with this 3 step conversation starter…It will immediately cause the prospect to listen and want to have a conversation with you.

3 Step Conversation Starter

Step 1

Talk about the trends in their market. You can say something like this…

”Today in your marketplace, there seems to be a lot going on such as….

Then list a few bullet points. This conveys you’ve done your homework, and you’re providing information that’s helpful to the prospect. It creates curiosity and the prospect will want to listen. This is something I shared routinely when I was selling group benefits. By being consistent sharing market trends, prospects began calling me for advice and news. This is a powerful insight that can easily be shared. 

Step 2

Give the prospects 3 common challenges you see. He’s an example…

Mr. Prospect my guess is you’re facing some similar challenges that my other clients were facing like…

Then name a few. This will convey your understanding of similar businesses in the prospects marketplace and you’ve solved these challenges. 

Step 3

Follow with a question…

Which of these challenges are true for you?

Now sit back and let the prospect answer. 

Do you see how this is much better than immediately pitching a product or services?

This 3 step conversation starter puts the emphasis on the prospect where it should be.

So let’s put it all together…Here’s how I start a conversation. Use this script and plug in the appropriate words for you. 

(Step 1) Bill, Today in your marketplace, there seems to be a lot going on trying to retain quality talent…such as your best talent being recruited away, or bonus and onboarding packages are increasing which entice your top talent away.

(Step 2) My guess is you’re facing some similar challenges that my other clients were facing like cutting back on training, or sales managers with a lack of time or knowledge on how to coach a sales team. These challenges can definitely affect keeping your best talent.

(Step 3) Which of these challenges are true for you?

The above script will take around 35 seconds to say. Use a similar script to start a sales conversation and refrain from launching into a sales pitch. As a matter of fact, refrain from talking about your product and services until the prospect asks you!

This may seem counterintuitive because after all, you are there to sell..right? WRONG! You’re there to solve a problem.

Personal Story

In my group benefits days, I’d never talk about my product until I was asked. Often times, the prospect would say something like this…

Prospect: “So group benefits is all the same. I’m sure you’re just like all the rest.”

me: “What do you know about the products I represent?”

Prospect: “I’ve never used your products before, but they must be similar.”

me: “Are you looking for similar? If so, why would you be interested in leaving your current carrier?”

Prospect: “I’m not sure I am looking to leave, but I have to reduce the yearly cost of the group benefits for the company and for our employees.”

Bingo! One concerned was uncovered without even talking about the group benefits I represented.

See how easily you can transform from using a pitch into a solution solving sales conversation! Now, I’d love to hear from you. Can you share an extraordinary sales conversation you use in the comments below?

Christine Harrington is the Savvy Sales Lady, helping sales teams and individuals win more sales through a unique way of selling called Peak Performance Mindset. Christine brings 40 years of selling experience with Fortune 500 Companies, to help you shorten the learning curve, move past your selling blocks and position yourself as a Peak Performer. Sales Leaders, Sales Managers, Sales Teams, Small Business owners and their employees have captured their edge by attending Christine’s Peak Performance Mindset Workshop and Coaching. Learn how she can help you or your team. Get the edge by clicking here



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