Narrative connections

Talk Time

Talk Time

I have talked to countless B2B organizations over the years and one of the most common things I’m asked is where to find the best salespeople. They love to share their frustrations with current staff and their inability to sell solutions. They crave the kind of people who can connect with high-end executives, challenge assumptions and partner with brands while not focusing on price.

I usually tell them to “get in line,” because that’s the most common conversation I have had over the past seven years with execs. I usually continue by saying that if everybody is asking how to find salespeople, maybe they are asking the wrong question.

I had one person tell me, “I just don’t have the people who can make the solution sale.” I said, “I disagree. If your people are driven, smart and charismatic, they can probably accomplish anything they put their mind to. Your clients are not asking for these so called ‘solutions’. They are asking for what they perceive you to provide.”

I believe that anyone primarily responsible for a client relationship should have a process consistently dedicated to conversation. While the channels have multiplied, the art of conversation is still at the heart of success.

Determining how to listen and respond as an individual and an organization is more critical than ever. Subsequently, we cannot be fooled into thinking there is any substitute for conversation. While technology offers new ways to connect, the details of communication still matter.

Consider that two-thirds of the B2B buying process is done before human contact. This means people don’t want to be bothered by someone they don’t know. People want to be heard and understood, and you can only accomplish that through conversation.

My dear friend, AmyK Hutchens, has launched a new online curriculum called “The Power of Profitable Conversations.” While I typically don’t promote fee-based programs, I was too smitten with this idea not to share. AmyK touches upon three conversations—Mindset, Professional and Personal—that shape our lives. Specifically, the way we talk to ourselves, our loved ones and our clients dictates our success.

I’d submit to any executive or salesperson that we need to work on how we talk. It still matters, despite the flood of digital noise. We must still connect with others in a thoughtful, albeit artful, way. We should take the time to realize there are things we can learn to make our conversations more impactful and more profitable.

When I need a doctor, I go to one who can fix what ails me. If I contact a lawyer, I probably already have a problem that needs to be solved. And if something goes wrong with my car, I go to the dealership or local garage. Regardless of the issue, I can find the solution myself. So selling solutions is akin to waiting for someone to walk thorough the door. But there’s a bigger play for those who aspire for invaluable status in the lives of their clients.

Problem identification is the key to business success and must be accessed through meaningful conversation. Take the people closest to you. They not only care about you, they can identify with the things that bother you. The fact is that our inner circle understands us best through the art of conversation.

Once you can identify a problem for someone, the solutions naturally come into focus. Those who are closest to us and discover the issues have already positioned themselves to solve the problem as well. So focus your energy away from the concept of selling solutions and find a way to use conversation to get close enough to see what problems truly exist.

And if you truly want a blueprint for more profitable conversations, check out AmyK’s free webinar next week: I signed up and I have already used “The Power of Profitable Conversations” curriculum to enhance my personal and business relationships. I think you would get a kick out of it.

Happy New Year!

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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