The Pivot Point

In most sales conversations there is a point (or several) or moment in time when the conversation and outcome pivots. This "pivot point" is the point at which the client or prospect makes a statement, asks a question and/or presents an objection. At this point your response can determine whether the conversation continues or it nose dives and you crash and burn.

I was doing some one-on-one telephone coaching with a sales team and as I was listening in on their sales calls I observed that in many of the conversations when the dialogue arrived at a critical pivot point the sales people missed the opportunity to shine and create a positive result which in this case was their desire to uncover an opportunity to secure an appointment or probe for needs over the phone.

Therefore, the question is how do you improve your odds and increase your conversion ratio when these all important pivot points present themselves?

I will be frank and admit that offering advice on the subject is difficult because each situation and individual that you communicate with in sales is so unique. That means that your responses, attitude and demeanor must adjust to the uniqueness of the situation.

Mastering the pivot point and winning more often requires you to do the following:

You must project confidence and assurance through your voice, body language, hand gestures and facial expressions. This is extremely important because people feed off of this and if they don't feel it then it is much easier for them to blow you off.

You must be or learn to be and think fast on your feet. Improvisation is a skill that some come by naturally and that others must develop over time through trial and error. If this is a challenge then you must give yourself an unfair advantage by being more conscious of the statements, comments, questions and/or objections that might be offered by people. Having done that you must give yourself better tools to work with by preparing for, knowing and practicing a preferred manner and effective wording that you should respond with. Excelling and becoming the best at mastering the pivot point takes time, effort, practice and commitment.

Carefully chosen words, wording and phrases have a significant impact on how you are received and perceived. You must eliminate weak and wishy washy terminology from your vocabulary and replace this language with words and phrases that are compelling and have intensity to them. This intensity creates a positive impact that results in prospect curiosity, intrigue and a sense of urgency to move forward and/or learn more.

You must project your belief and conviction otherwise why would anyone ever be swayed or want to take steps in the direction that you wish them to go? When you speak, do so with conviction and be certain that you make statements of belief rather than comments with question marks dangling at the end. If you want people to accept that you can help them, bring benefit to their business and offer value that is worthy of consideration then you need to make people feel it!

These coaching calls were being made to accounts and individuals that were already in the data base and during the calls that I listened in on, more of the contacts than expected were no longer the primary contact and/or they had left the company. This of course happens under normal circumstances but considering the choppy economy I would suggest this is even more likely to happen in these times. The last point that I wish to comment on is how important it is to be ready for this. If you are calling on a competitive account that you haven't done any business with in the past this can provide you with an excellent opportunity to make a fresh start as long as you handle it correctly. This is another example of how important improvisation is when making calls. If you have made previous contact and you have kept notes (records) of your conversations you now have an opportunity to leverage this information as the new contact person has no idea what your relationship was with their predecessor. I am not suggesting that you should lie and you really don't have to! That doesn't mean that you cannot use this fresh start to your advantage either and you should!

Having the right words at the moment you need them most and knowing instinctively what to say at the pivot point will significantly improve your conversion ratios. It's not luck or fate that makes the difference; it is the development of skills and a heightened awareness of your communication and conversational selling abilities that will put you in the elite class of consultative selling professionals.


Canada's Sales Expert

Since founding SMP Strategies (a.k.a. Elite Training Systems) in 2001, I have partnered with dozens of sales organizations in varying capacities to elevate individual and team performance and increase overall revenue generation and profitability. Through the delivery of public workshops and customized on-site training, I have educated thousands of consultative sales professionals using personally developed training programs. Authored three books on the discipline...

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