Sales is a tricky subject for most bookkeepers, but it's a skill you can master using specific methods. Here's expert advice on how to create more sales opportunities.
Chris Spurvey is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, podcast host, and best-selling business book author who began his career back in 1991.
Since the early days, he was a student of the internet, which led him down an entrepreneurship path. This was mainly due to the opportunities with the web that Chris saw right from the start.
He built a successful IT consulting company and sold it to KPMG in 2013. The deal served as proof of Chris's skill as a salesperson – a role he’s played throughout his career.
However, Chris wasn't a natural-born salesperson. It took time and effort before he found a way to sell and he fell down and picked himself up innumerable times while learning sales.
Over the years, Chris developed an effective technique for creating sales conversations. And it's what helped him transform from a beginner into a sales expert.
It can do the same for you.
In this article, we'll break down Chris's amazing sales technique that will help you achieve results far beyond what you thought possible.
Creating Great Sales Conversations
Chris based his approach to sales on the natural desire for human connection. When it came to helping people with their problems, his philosophy focused on getting to the point where you can even have that conversation.
From his perspective, the entire thing starts with understanding how a typical conversation works, even if you don't know whether the other person is a prospect or not.
The technique for sales conversations that Chris developed consists of two key elements – the FORM and the diagnostic conversation. The former describes the principle of creating the initial conversation, while the latter is the follow-up that comes once you've "broken the ice."
Following the FORM
FORM is an acronym that stands for family, occupation, recreation, and motivation. All of these are themes you can use to start the conversation with a potential client.
That is, you can use those four topics to ask questions and generate a conversation. Here are some typical questions you can lead with:
- Where do you live?
- Where do your kids go to school?
- Where do you work?
- Do you enjoy what you do?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- Where do you go for recreation?
The "motivation" part of FORM is different because it's not a topic for starting conversations. Rather, it's more of a level you can reach as you get deeper into a conversation and bridge the gap.
Motivation refers to talking about the other person's dreams, wishes, and all the things driving them forward. That’s why you can start talking about motivation only when you develop some trust with the other person.
Now, bookkeepers and accountants are rarely extroverted people ready to take control over a conversation. If that sounds like you, the entire technique might seem quite daunting.
Just remember one thing to put your mind at ease:
You don't have to be in charge of the conversations from start to finish. All you need to do is ask the first question.
This is because that first question usually leads to the other person asking you something. And at that point, you can have an answer ready.
Now, when you reply to a question, the crucial thing is that your response should be higher in energy.
But what do I mean by this?
For example, if the potential client asks you what you do, it would be best not to say something like, Oh, I'm a bookkeeper.
That's a low-energy response. Instead, you should try to give a high-energy reply like:
"I help small businesses keep track of their expenses so they can get more back on their tax returns."
This kind of response will more likely spark the other person's interest and you'll be able to keep the conversation going.
Using the FORM in combination with prepared, high-energy responses allows you to set up the sales conversation more easily, bringing you to the second stage of the process: the diagnostic conversation.
The Diagnostic Conversation
The point of the diagnostic conversation isn't only to sell. Rather, your primary focus should be to figure out what the person you're talking to needs and if you have a solution for them.
Keep in mind that the diagnostic conversation follows a pattern. It starts with a simple question that you should ask the potential client:
"Can you tell me a little bit about your business?"
You'll want to know what the root of the business is, the story behind it, and how it got started. The aspect that should interest you the most is what pain points your prospect saw in the market.
Then, you'll move on to questions that get the prospect thinking about the future. For example, you can ask them the following:
“Where would you like to see your business five years from now?”
Finally, the third question should be:
"Where are you today?"
These three questions will open up a conversation about the business's past, present, and future. Ideally, they'll get you into a deeper conversation where you'll have an opportunity to offer your service.
Now, you might think that the diagnostic conversation doesn't apply to your business. However, if you take it as a blueprint and adjust it to your area of work, you can make it quite effective.
Combined with the FORM, it will work wonders for your sales conversations.
Doing Sales Like a Pro
The technique for creating great sales conversations we've described here is an efficient method of getting the desired results. Even better, it's a framework that will help you get better at sales, even if it's not something that comes naturally.
Try following this method and practice it as often as possible. You might find out that you've got a hidden sales master within!
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