After persistence you finally have a first appointment with a big potential customer? Then it’s time to prepare your sales pitch. What is the best way to build the conversation? And how do you gain optimal insight into the needs of your customer?

In the natural course of a sales conversation, the different phases are not always perfectly delineated. Nevertheless, we can distinguish seven of them.

#1 Introduction

The first impression you make on your interviewer is crucial for the further course of the conversation. So don’t jump in right away, but start the conversation in a relaxed manner and spend a few minutes on informal topics. Think about common hobbies and interests, current events or the drive you just took for your appointment.

#2 Inventory

Start with this part when you are both sitting quietly. This way, your full attention goes to the other person. This is important, because in this phase you let your potential customer have his say. This allows you to optimally analyse his or her needs and existing knowledge. Based on this, you tune your language and choose whether or not to use certain jargon.

In addition, this phase also has psychological benefits. By letting your conversation partner speak, he or she clears his or her head and there is room to listen to your story.

#3 Presentation

Now it’s up to you to present your solution. A good method is to summarise your client’s problem in your own words using the LSD technique. This way your conversation partner will notice that you have understood his story. Then you link your solution to the story of your potential client. Make sure you stick to the essence and don’t get too bogged down in details.

Tip: you can bring slides, but don’t draw all the attention to them. Add figures, technical data and other details at the end and only use them if they come up.

#4 Argumentation

After your presentation, the rebuttals come. This is the time to disprove them. Please note that this is not a discussion! Try to put yourself in your interlocutor’s shoes and explore how your solution can eliminate his or her problem. Avoid sentences that begin with: “Yes, but”. Put the focus on construction like, “I get your point. In what other way can we help you?”

#5 Negotiation

A client who agrees 100% with your solution is a rare occurrence. Many people try to negotiate terms, often asking for a discount. Know that you can always do that, but make sure you get something in return.

#6 Completion

Get a confirmation. If the situation allows, written confirmation is preferred.

Does your prospect want to think it over? Then schedule a follow-up meeting so you can make up your minds.

#7 Follow-up

You build up a solid relationship with your client by staying in regular contact and asking if everything is going according to plan. This also increases the appreciation of your company.

So don’t leave him or her out in the cold after the purchase! After all, satisfied customers are the best salespeople.

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