Talk the Talk. How to Chat Up Anyone & Sell You
I think talking is great fun…it’s absolutely one of my very favorite things to do – especially when I get to know you! (Just ask my husband, my children, my VA or just about anyone who knows me…) I love, love, love talking to people – mostly about their businesses. You never know what you’re going to discover when you talk to someone. Every conversation is a treasure hunt and a carefully wrapped present, all in one. It’s a surprise, a gift and a challenge with a reward at the end, especially when you know how to open it up.
But there’s a few things you need to keep in mind when you’re talking to a prospect that will go miles toward helping you win the business or land the account. This is a special type of talking, and one that has a few easy-to-learn rules that will help you grow your business. And remember, the more business you have, the more money you make, and the more you can share with those you love, respect or want to help. Sounds good, right?
So let’s talk about talking.
RULE NUMBER ONE
Listen more than you speak.
The trickiest thing about truly talking to someone is listening. So many people never really listen to anyone – in their minds, they’re totally checked out. They’re so busy planning the next thing they’re going to say that they don’t really listen to their prospect. So…
Instead of planning the next part of your pitch, let your prospect lead you. If you pay close attention to what they’re telling you, you’ll have absolutely no doubt what you should say next when they come to a natural pause, looking to you for a reply.
Here’s an example.
Marian has secured an appointment with Susan, a frazzled executive, to discuss how her business, a temporary employment service, can help Susan better manage her company. Instead of starting the conversation with a hard sell opening pitching three or four customer service agents she is looking to place, she simply thanks Susan for her time and asks her, “So…what are the most important things on your plate today?”
This is a simple question, but it doesn’t allow for a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. It requires Susan to elaborate, to describe, and give Marian some critical information that will help her position her company as the solution to all of Susan’s problems.
After Susan tells Marian that she has a ton of travel arrangements to make, she has to nail down some details for an important product launch event and she just found out her accounts payable person – who is pregnant – has been put on bed rest for the next four months, Marian knows exactly what to say next. She can offer Susan immediate help in the form of Taffy, a talented party planner; Janice, a crackerjack administrative assistant who also worked for a travel agency for four years, and Barry, a young man who just got out of the military – where he was a appropriations disbursement clerk – and is looking for civilian employment.
See how it works? And believe me, it works like a charm! The world is your oyster when you take the time to listen before you talk!
RULE NUMBER TWO
Know how to talk to people in their own language.
If all of your potential clients think like you, talk like you, and interact with others in social situations the same way you do, this is easy. But let’s be real – sometimes your best prospects are the night to your day. There are many different types of people in the world – or at least four.
Most psychology-loving people break up humans into four general categories:
• Driven, assertive types (Let’s call them vibrant “reds”.)
• Creative, fun-loving types (These are bright and sunny “yellows”.)
• Meticulous, precise types (“Greens” – because a lot of them are really good with money.)
• People-pleasing, negotiating types (The calming, soothing “blues”.)
There are certain ways to talk effectively to each type of people. They respond positively to different approaches and rationales. If you can appeal to their particular “hot buttons”, you can sell yourself (and your business!) to them much more easily.
If this sounds hard, relax. It’s not rocket science. And thank goodness, because less than 2% of the people you meet understand rocket science. It’s all about presentation and communication. Here are some hints for handling the different types of people you’ll meet:
To talk to REDS:
You’ll meet a lot of reds in the business world, especially at the top of the food chain. You’ll need to polish the specific skills needed to pitch to reds. They are goal-oriented, competitive people who focus on results. They are usually efficient decision-makers and their priority is often the bottom line. If you can deliver on your promises, their loyalty is awesome! They think fast, work fast, dislike repetition and get straight to the point.
They often speak loudly and tend to speak in statements rather than questions. When they do ask questions, they’re direct. Their body language is animated and confident.
To make the sale:
• Cut to the chase. Don’t repeat yourself, bury them under useless facts or statistics, or – horrors – make something up if you aren’t 100% sure. They’d rather hear that you need to do some quick research so you can provide them with the best answer. Make sure to follow up ASAP!
• Be a problem solver. Always have examples that will demonstrate how your product or service will benefit their profitability.
• Use their competitiveness to your advantage. Show them how working with you will help them get a leg up on their rivals.
• Professionalism is key. This isn’t the type of person who will respond kindly to a funny tale about your kids or your dog as an icebreaker. Keep it friendly and approachable, but all business.
To talk to YELLOWS:
Yellows are cheerful, exuberant people who love to interact and chat. They’re usually much more informal than reds – they’re the ones who love the funny kid and cat stories!
They’re just as likely to make a business decision based on the rapport they feel as the practical considerations they’re facing. They tend to think outside the box or look for creative solutions and they love new challenges. They sometimes have short attention spans and might need to be entertained a bit with a sales pitch.
To close the deal:
• It’s all about the vision. Go grand. Help them see how your products or services can change their business for the better.
• Don’t bog them down with details – they want to see the big picture, not be wading through the weeds.
• Be memorable. Add a funky accessory or a bright shoe that will give her something to comment on, but still keep it professional. If appropriate, leave a yellow with a useful, clever promotional item stamped with your company logo or your name.
• Share, but don’t overshare. Don’t get overly intimate, but feel free to present personal stories that illustrate your business to business points. Yellows like to like the people they work with. You can often talk to a yellow the way you would talk to a friend, but without the complaining and venting.
• Guide them through their decision-making processes. Yellows are often short-sighted and don’t plan extensively or think things through to the final result. If you can act as their expert, advise them and give them great support, they’ll sign on quickly and never leave you.
To talk to GREENS:
Greens love facts, figures and data. They glory in it…and to them, the process is the important thing. Like reds, they have little patience for fluff, but it isn’t as much the end result they care about, it’s how you get there. They do their research, they’re always prepared and they vet everything thoroughly before they make a decision.
They’re not afraid to dig in and resist if they aren’t completely satisfied that the path they’re taking will have a positive outcome. They’re thoughtful, logical and secure in their abilities.
They tend to be formal, unemotional and matter-of-fact…even more so than reds. Many of them aren’t interested in forming a personal relationship with you – they’re mainly focused on what your company can do for them on a purely business level.
They tend to not use expressive body language, but believe me – they’re making a careful note of every single thing you’re saying.
To bring them on board:
• Be prepared! Greens will ask a lot of detailed questions that require specific answers. Have your ducks in a row. Most of the time, a long introduction won’t be necessary – a green will have familiarized herself with your products or services and will be interested in the smaller details rather than the larger picture.
• Customize and tailor your offerings. Greens want to know exactly how you can make your offerings work for them, and they respond well to modifications or custom packages that show that you’ve done your homework and know what they need.
• Don’t rush them – they’ll make a decision when they’re good and ready.
• Statistics, facts and figures are the way to convince them. Data is their security blanket when they’re making decisions. Unlike other types, the more numbers they have, the happier they are.
• Stick to the facts, be concise and let your work speak for itself.
To Talk to BLUES:
Blues are concerned about their company’s place in the world, and often strive to promote a greater good. They’re human advocates and are deeply concerned with the well-being and happiness of others. They often negotiate, moderate and arrange compromises to satisfy as many people as possible. They want to know how their decisions affect those around them. While they tend to be people-pleasers, don’t be fooled – they have strong personalities, opinions and convictions.
They often rely on intuition and value long-term relationships. Don’t be offhand or breezy with blues, as you would with yellows; they tend to be a more serious brand of people person. They respect commitment and dedication. Causes are important to blues, and they love to find ways to contribute, share and promote goodwill.
To convince them:
• Don’t bring out a lot of facts and figures. Blues respond best to pitches that have a strong human angle and can show a community consciousness.
• Present case studies instead – by showing them how your products or services have helped other companies succeed, you can convince them that you are there to help them and improve their company’s overall standing in the community.
• Think in the long term. If you have long-standing relationships with clients, tout them. Blues want to bond and collaborate.
• If appropriate, chat a bit about your “why”. Let a blue know what causes you support and show her your passion for them. Make sure to keep it sincere and low-key.
Of course, not every person you meet is strictly one type. Most people are a combination of two or more types. For example, I have a lot of ______________ traits, but I have a bit of ___________ in me as well.
You can build an effective pitch by taking some of the tactics that work on the primary color, and adding one or two strategies that work on a secondary color. For example, for a red (powerful, assertive, quick to make decisions) with a social conscience (blue), design a concise presentation with case studies that solves her problems, bests her competition and talks to her passion for her cause.
And if you need some practice, try the exercise outlined here!
Click HERE for practice exercise
It will get you started on this particular type of strategic thinking.
That’s all for now, but don’t hesitate to drop me a line here if you have questions about the color wheel and how you can make it work for you!
Until next time…