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Close the Sale with a Good Conversation

Try these 10 tips to make your prospect feel perfectly understood.

Engaging your prospects and customers in good conversation puts you on the fast track to a successful sale. So, how can you connect with them in a way that makes them feel respected, inspired, and ready to do business?

In her 2015 Ted Talk, “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation,” writer and NPR radio host Celeste Headlee shares what she learned from her years in the interviewer’s chair. Here’s what she has to say:

  1. Don’t multitask. Be present. Be in the moment. Don’t be half in and half out.
  1. Don’t pontificate. Assume every conversation presents the opportunity to learn.
  1. Use open-ended questions. Consider the difference between “were you terrified?” and “what was that like?” Let them describe their experience in their own words.
  1. Go with the flow. Stop trying to think of the next thing you’re going to say. It keeps you from listening (see #9).
  1. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Always err on the side of caution.
  1. Don’t equate your experience with theirs.  All experiences are individual.
  1. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending, and it’s boring.
  1. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about the years, names, and dates you’re struggling to remember. They care about you, what you are like, and what you have in common.
  1. L-i-s-t-e-n. It’s the most important thing you can do.
  1. Be brief. “A good conversation is like a mini skirt,” quotes Headlee. “Short enough to retain interest, long enough to cover the subject.”

By Laurie Hileman

You can watch Headlee’s entire 12-minute talk at