How the sales dialogue builds relationships, trust, and bottom lines


Brian Tracy says that ultimately all selling is relationship selling and that underscores the importance of the sales dialogue.

The hosts of late night talk shows may use monologues to get their shows off to a good start, but it’s the sales dialogue that will serve as the foundation of a successful relationship between a buyer and a seller.

To participate in a sales dialogue, it’s important for the salesperson to do much more listening than talking. This is because:

  • Your customer’s problem is more important than what you’re selling,
  • Your customer must be assured that you understand the problem,
  • You must build trust with your customer in order to have your sales pitch met with receptive ears, and
  • You should be able to simply and concisely explain why you have the best solution to your customer’s problem.

As easy as this sounds, it can be difficult to do. After all, sales professionals should believe that they have an excellent product or service and they should be eager to share that with people because they know it will make their customers’ lives better.

Have you ever met someone for the first time and walked away from your encounter thinking, “Wow, that person seemed to really care about me”? If you have, I’ll guarantee you it was because the person asked questions about you and listened to your answers. If you do that, it puts you in the position to ask follow-up questions, which prove that you’re listening to the person who is doing the talking; follow-up questions “close the loop” of understanding.

I have a friend who used to be a newspaper reporter and because of that, he has been trained to ask questions, listen to answers, and ask follow-up questions. This is how he handles most social encounters, but he always notices if the people he’s talking to never ask him a question. He’s explained to me that he expects this because people are their own favorite subjects to talk about. However, he takes special note when someone shows their interest (or curiosity) by asking him questions.

With his newspaper training, he’s somewhat more consciously aware of the interest people take in him during conversations. However, we all process this information and store it, even if it is done unconsciously.

When you’re meeting new prospects, you only have one chance to make a first impression that shows you’re interested in their concerns and not there to wow them with a sales demonstration or slick spiel. It’s your responsibility to start and lead a sales dialogue:

  • Ask questions,
  • Repeat what is said in your own words to be sure you understand properly, and
  • Ask follow-up questions.

Allow your sales dialogue to naturally include your solution to your prospect’s problem. If you start to build the foundation of the relationship first, the relationship will be much stronger in the long run and result in more sales.