The 2 Components of ANY Successful Sales Conversation

Every sales conversation, regardless of where it takes place in the sales cycle, what industry it serves, or whether the salesperson is selling a product or a service is comprised of two components.  If either of these components is missing, or not executed well it can, and often does, end the conversation.

What are those two components?  Great question!

The first component is the message.  The message is simply the information you are trying to get across to your prospect, customer, audience, employee, investor, or whomever.  This message then is WHAT you say.


The message itself will, of course, vary based on what information you are relaying but successful messages are comprised of the following elements:

  1. They are clear.  By this I mean the point you are trying to make is well thought out and easy to understand.  They use plain language that would be familiar to the recipient (no JARGON!) .
  2. They are concise.  This is key.  Very, very often a powerful point is lost in a sea of words.  Remember: The essence of effective business communications is Brevity.  You get PAID to change minds, not spew words! – 🙂   
  3. They are focused on the things the prospect cares about (increasing revenue, decreasing cost, improving efficiency, losing weight, attracting mates ~whatever problem your product/service solves) NOT on you.   Don’t let this become an opportunity to talk about your company and how amazing it is.  Customers care about how you add value to them not about your company’s history or any awards it has won.

The second component is delivery.  This is the way you convey your message.  If the message is WHAT you say, then the delivery is HOW you say it.  And this is where salespeople and influencers OFTEN lose their opportunity.SCREAMING

  1. Tone
  2. Rate of speech
  3. Style of language (formal or casual)
  4.  Body language (if in person)

The words we choose are important, but it is at least as important how we deliver those words.  When I’m coaching salespeople through initial conversations with prospects and objection handling, as well as when I’m working with business owners on how to effectively manage and coach their teams I am consistently surprised at how often both groups are unaware of the impact the tone of their voice, the way they articulate their message, and how their rate of speech all impact their respective audiences.

Think about that for a moment:

  • How many times in your life has someone had something important to share with you but you found yourself unable to get past the messenger (their delivery)?
  • If we are trying to help a client to see a different view and come to a different decision (objection handling), what impact will it have if we sound defensive?  Aggressive?
  • If we are in an initial conversation with a prospect and we, in our nervousness, speak a million miles per minute, what impression does that leave?
  • If we carry the negative energy from a prior meeting with us when we coach a new-hire and our body language is abrupt and aggressive, how might that be interpreted?

The good news is that there is a relatively easy fix for this.  It’s a two part system that will dramatically improve ALL of your influence opportunities:

  1. Planning
  2. Practice

Too obvious?

Fair enough, but that doesn’t make it less true!

Before we allow ourselves to conduct any potentially sensitive interaction it is critical that we take the time to PLAN.

  • What is our desired outcome?
  • What questions/information do I have planned to support that outcome?
  • What objections/resistance do I anticipate?
  • What are my next steps?

Knowing the answers to those questions will allow you to shape your message and be ready for much of what can occur in that interaction.

Practice comes next.  Practice, practice, practice.

Practice makes perfect


Perfect practice makes better


The more time you spend practicing, the better you will be (I know, I know that’s really deep…{sarcasm font}).  The organizations that I work with that take the time to role-play scenarios, to train, and practice win more business than the ones that don’t.  The managers/owners who proactively forward-manage their teams and work with them on next week’s business instead of praising or punishing them for last week’s business are more profitable.  It’s just that simple.

As always, let’s wrap this post up with a challenge:

Look at your messaging around initial conversations with prospects.

Is it:

  • Clear- Is it easy to understand (from your audience’s view)?
  • Concise- Take a minute and cut out any extraneous words or distracting tangents
  • Jargon-free (see my post on JARGON)- Don’t use language that your audience won’t understand
  • Targeted towards THEIR wants and needs NOT your “pitch”

Now that you are confident that your message passes our new process, practice it with a team-mate or mentor and hone your delivery.

Thank you for stopping by!

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4 Responses

  1. Todd Butler says:

    Awesome read Gerry!! The basics of planning and practice have made a huge difference in some of the scenarios you’ve worked with me during our coaching.

  2. Jim Hansen says:


    All relative and will lead to better outcomes.


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