The other day, I came across an article on Inc. Magazine’s website, 8 Easy Ways to Increase Sales. It was an incredibly informative piece on selling more by not selling harder, but smarter. The author gives eight great tips to help improve your sales pitch, but two in particular stood out for me.

Tip 1:  “Think about your product as a verb.” Genius!

“Suppose your company makes glue,” the author says, “If you think that you sell glue (a noun), you’ll talk about features and functions. If you think you sell gluing (a verb), you’ll talk about the role your product plays in your customers’ business.” This stood out to me because, as a salesperson, I think you often build this connection to your product, you know it in and out, and truly believe in its features and functions. When you sell to a prospective customer you can get caught up in telling them all the great things your product does without realizing whether or not this is relevant to their environment. Understanding how your product fits in their environment and the role your product will play in their business to address their pain points will create more quality conversations and more closed business.

Tip 5:  Listen more than you talk.

Listening is one of the most important skill sets for all sales reps, and one of the most overlooked by ambitious rookies.  We have touched on the need for sales reps to learn to listen in the past, and here is another example of this important quality.  Instead of discussing what your product can do, listen to what they need from your product. Ask questions about their environment that can help you determine what features of your product will address their concerns. This way, you are not wasting anyone’s time by discussing the features of “glue” but instead, discussing “gluing,” the attributes of your product that can address your prospect’s pains/needs. And, since you are taking the time to learn about their environment, they’ll be more apt to listen to what you have to say.  It’s an old saying that will always apply to sales; we have two ears and one mouth for a reason!

Make your pitch a bit less sales driven and focus more on a conversational tone. Listen to your prospect and they will listen to you. Even if this isn’t the best time for them to explore your product, at least you’ve earned their respect and trust. This way, when the time is right, you’re already one step ahead of the rest.