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Highlights from this episode include:

  • The secret to asking questions that won’t set off your prospect’s sales radar (2:27)
  • Why asking deep questions can kill a sale (5:09)
  • Knowledge is not enough, you also need to add this to your small talk (6:24)
  • Never do this when making small talk, or your prospect will hate you (8:36)
  • Avoid attempting small talk if people don’t meet these 3 criteria (11:07)
  • Use this small talk acronym to avoid embarrassing errors (12:09)
  • This faulty view of small talk is costing you sales (12:33)
Read Full Transcript

There's two types of people who hear consensual sales in the first go, Oh, Eww, Shawna, that is not what you want to say. There are better words to use and the second type here, consensual sales and say, you know what? You're right. I don't want to talk my way into the sale. I don't want to memorize a script. You just want to work with clients who are excited to work with you. Now that's consensual sales.

What's up? What's happening? It's me, Shawna. I never know how to start these things. I never know if I should be saying like, Hey, what's up? How you doing? What's going on? Like I never know which version, but all three of those are things that I actually do say. So I try really hard to just speak like you are here with me and we're just talking. So today we are talking about how to do the small talk before the sales talk.

(00:51): Now you tell me all my gosh that the last thing that you want to do is to trick somebody into buying and it feels incredibly awkward to just initiate small talk with people because then you gotta somehow like interject your sales talk or like give them a pitch or like they're going to feel tricked or dubbed into just the only reason that you're talking to them is because you're going to sell them. We are going to talk about that, but before we do, let us just give a wonderful shout out two, I don't know if you called them my fans or my friends or my France, my Franz, but if you write and review my podcast on iTunes, I'll go ahead and give you a shout out and rattle it off in an episode. And this one goes out to Melissa, Melissa McKenzie of triple M studios.com where she says best podcast ever.

(01:46): I did not say this. I didn't even tell her to write it and she says, I freaking love Shauna's natural conversation and podcast style. She's a genuinely amazing person with fantastic life and sales tips. You need to hear what she has to say. She's a breath of fresh air and the online space. Thank you, Melissa, of triple M studios. That was super generous. And the rest of you, if you want to be like Melissa and super Spartan, awesome. You can leave me a podcast review because a, I dunno, like it makes people think that I'm legit or something. I don't know. I don't know why we write those to be honest. It's just what my podcast friends tell me to do. Okay. Let's start with the easiest one, which is how to do the small talk. Before the sales talk, you have to ask questions that you actually want to know the answer to.

(02:30): So what I mean by that is if you're on social media and you're trying to talk to people, I mean I guess this could be in real life too, but if you're asking questions like, are you Pepsi or are you diet Coke? Do you really care about the answers to that? Maybe you do, but most of us, I can't imagine that you do. Is that really an important, is that an important question that you care about? The answer to? So the very first thing is is that I need you to start asking questions that you care about the answer to because the point of the small talk is to open up conversations where there's a back and forth exchange, right? So small talk is to facilitate a back and forth exchange. And if you're just trying to be, in this case the algorithms, if you're creating conversations online by posting like a generic question like what's your favorite color?

(03:17): Or you know, are you Pepsi or Coke, are you a dog or cat? Like those questions. It will not make it easier for you to move the conversation along in a way that gets somebody closer to buying from you because those don't open up conversations because you don't really care about the answers too. You want to think about questions that open up conversations where you care about the answer to. So one thing that we like in my family we have, we have five or six different books that are like 101 questions to ask your spouse or 101 questions to ask about your life. Or I'll just Google questions that every newlyweds should ask or questions to ask your grandma, right? Like whatever questions those are like you don't have to think of these questions off the top of your head. That's going to be really hard.

(04:02): So just take a quick shortcut like just open up Google or grab one of these books at those weird gift stores where you can run through pages and pages of questions and pick ones that are most interesting to you. The other thing is that in small talk first one is to ask questions that you want to know. The answer to. The other part of small talk is the questions have to take on a form of like from easy to moderate to harder. They have to get progressively harder. But imagine that I am barely met this person and they say something along the lines of tell us about the last time your husband made you cry or tell me about the last time that you were in a really stressful fight with your spouse. Right? I'd be like, what? Who are you, why are you asking me this?

(04:49): So sometimes the questions that you're asking people, they can't be too deep too quickly. Okay. You have to have some level of tact and they have to have a natural progression from easier to moderate to harder. Right? And for lots of reasons, but also because thinking is really, really hard. Thinking takes a lot of work. And if the questions are too deep too soon, they're just going to check out. And again, the point of the small talk is to keep conversations open and going. If it doesn't hit those two sort of qualifiers, then you're never going to be able to move from small talk to sales talk. So how do you do the small talk before the sales talk? The second one is you need to be interesting, and this kind of hit me on the head when I was, I don't know if you guys know, I'm going to say her name wrong, but she, Stephanie, like Shrew ma, she basically runs, it's called good love company and she's like a relationship coach and she's really, really awesome actually.

(05:47): If you want a good person to follow with really amazing content, I would absolutely follow her. Again, it's Stephanie trauma with a C H at the good love company and she was talking about in this case about how I don't like it, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, hurt people's feelings, but she's saying something along the lines of like, maybe you're dating all these idiots because you're not really that interesting. Right? And I think that that's true in small talk is you need to be, you need to have a breadth of knowledge across different industries. So this is where it's important to go wide rather than deep. So can you speak, I mean I think that we say that surface level stuff is not that important, but I think that this is a time when it is, can you speak across multiple platforms or topics or industries and be able to kind of like hold your own.

(06:42): So I kind of like to think about it like current events. Can you stay up to date with, I don't know, politics, pop culture, sports. What is another good one? Books. Oh this is another one is this is one that helps me is I don't know anything about politics. I don't want, I know a little bit, I know hardly a, I don't know anything about sports. I know quite a bit about pop culture and like celebrity stuff, which is kind of dumb. All against that. You had sat dumb, I'm sorry if you listen, if you are a celebrity expert, but it's not that, it's not the most valuable. Okay. Sorry. Where am I going with this? Oh yes. Reading. So I like to read a lot and so this actually is a way for me to be interesting and speak to different perspectives. And different things.

(07:30): Right? So this is one thing that you're going to want to think about in your own experiences. Are you interesting? Are you trying new things? Are you learning things across different topics? But it's just like the kid who only talks about comics, all the kid who only knows about, I don't know, like magic gathering. Like they're like a one hit one obsessive whistle. And if you want to be able to create small talk, you're going to have to be interesting. You're going to have to know things and speak across different, it keeps saying industry, but that's not the right, maybe I'm trying to say subcultures is that sort of the thing that I'm going for. This brings me to the third point. Okay, so we have asked questions you want to know the answer to. 1.5 was the progression of questions two as being interesting and it's like having a breadth of knowledge across different topics.

(08:22): And then the third one is if you want to do small talk before the sales talk, you have to suspend your judgment of people. Your job when you're creating a small talk is to keep the conversation open and going. And what happens is if the other person feels your judgment or senses like your resistance to what they're saying, the conversation is over or they're just going to dig their heels into their point and not be receptive to you're saying, and so what I need you to do is you need to keep the small talk going and you need to keep it open and so that requires you to suspend your judgment so the person keeps talking that can't imagine that this is anything new that you've heard before, but it's looking at the person while they're talking. It's giving those active signal, like those active listening cues like, yeah, tell me more.

(09:17): Like, I'd love to know that leaning in, right? The suspending your judgment kind of goes hand in hand with being interesting and learning new things because for you to suspend your judgment, you have to consider other possibilities and it's going to be really hard to consider other possibilities if you're not simultaneously learning new things and new ways of thinking and finding new interesting avenues. In your life. This actually goes, I just realized this, but they really do go hand in hand that your ability to suspend your judgment is almost correlated to your ability to be more interesting because you're open to like new ideas. Does that make sense? One thing that helps me to suspend my judgment is getting curious about why they think the way they do, what makes them believe that thing. I have a family social science degree so I've just always been fascinated with families and like family dynamics and so that is something that my brain like always goes to is how do they grow up or like what were their parents like or how many siblings did they have.

(10:28): Those are the questions that I immediately started going to because I think it's really fundamental of how you perceive and approach the world are based on those things. And so this is just a long way of saying that one way for you to suspend your judgment is to do this is to just get really curious about why someone says, does or believes the things that they do, how to do the small talk before the sales talk. Number four, how to do the small talk before the sales talk. Number four is I don't make small talk with people who we don't have a commonality with. So I like to use these sort of three references as if we don't have a shared experience, we don't have a shared value or we don't have a shared sense of humor. It's going to be really hard to make small talk with those people.

(11:15): So like it's okay if you don't. So one way that I tried to identify these things as a quick little acronym that I discovered when we used to go, I don't really think we went on car trips, but my dad always put me and my sister in the car and we just like drove around to kill time and he'd always say, we're like, where are we going dad? And he'd be like, we're going crazy and you just drive us around town to kill time. And I remember one of these trips or something, I was stopped and at a gas station and I picked up a magazine and in the magazine was like, I had to be like 10 or nine or something ridiculous. And in the magazine I was like, how to talk to a boy, right? Like sort of the same thing and like making small talk but with your crush.

(11:56): And they had this acronym that really stuck out to me and I've just remembered forever what this acronym was. And it's, it's called FAMs and the AF stands for friends and family. So when you're meeting somebody, you can speak on the app, which is friends and family, you can speak to the AE, which is activities, AMS is music and movies and S his school, right? So these are all sort of ways that you can help identify that shared experience, those shared values or their shared sense of humor. So really take some of these ideas and just play with them. Like just use it to drum up different conversations, right? Finally, number five, automate. Make the small type before the sales tag. Number five is you can't see them as two different things. The sales talk is really, we've sort of mystified the sales talk if you will.

(12:44): We've made it like this special thing that's like this really big deal and it's, we've got to know the right words in the right order at the right time and it's like all these, it's like this mystical being the sales talk. The part where we're like presenting our offer and what I need you to really think about is that the small talk is really not any different than the sales talk because the sales talk is simply an invitation when they, the other person has identified a problem and a need to fix their situation. I think this is part of why we hate sales so much, like why are we sort of, I don't really want to do it, is we think that sales is trying to convince other people. It's like talking our way into stuff and that's not it at all. The sales is the part in the conversation where somebody has self identified their need, they're saying they want something, they're saying they need it and you're then giving them permission to get it.

(13:50): Okay. That's literally what sales is. And so when we treat it like something separate from just a normal conversation, it holds way too much power over you. It doesn't have the power like you're the one who has the power. Right? So how to do the small talk before the sales talk recap, one ask questions. You want to know the answers to number two or 1.5 I keep getting that wrong. 1.5 is the progression of questions has to like take a normal cadence. The second one is interesting, right? Can you contribute meaningfully in a conversation within like that's intentional and thoughtful, right? Number three is suspend your judgment of other people and number four is identify your shared perspective, shared values or shared experience using the FAMs framework, which is friends and families, Tiffany's, music and movies and the school. Finally, number five, how to do the small talk before the sales talk is make sure that you're seeing them as really the same thing.

(14:55): The sales talk, the part where you offer your service, the part where you feel like you pitch is not any different, okay? It shouldn't be because by the time that you are offering your services, they should have already said yes to the benefit of it. Okay? All right. Here is the closing. Who is their clients are banging on your door ready to give you money and book your services, but they're asking hard questions like, how much is it and who are you? Exactly and how do I know you can help me? Your brain melts and you feel a lot like a deer in headlights. You've worked way too hard for this opportunity. You can't let it slip away. Here's what I need you to do right now. I need you to get your phone and dial five, five, five, eight, eight, eight and type consensual sales. That's one word. Consensual sales. Hi, five five eight eight eight where you'll get me and I'm going to help you navigate those conversations. Okay? Literally, it's me on the other line and I'll tell you exactly what to say to close those deals.

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