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Knocking doors in Oklahoma this week with a few of our new sales reps I was reminded of a valuable skill to becoming a great salesperson…conversations.

As I observed a sales rep trying so hard to make the sale to an interested prospect, the sales rep just couldn’t quite convince her to sign up for the service. He was going through the exact protocol as I had taught him but I sensed that the potential customer didn’t know him well enough or have enough trust in him to pull the trigger and come to the decision to sign the agreement.

I interjected with a simple question, “How long have you lived in the area?” Which spawned the makings of a great conversation. We then talked about what she did for a living and that escalated the conversation to an entire new level. For the next five minutes we had a conversation…nothing about sales, and that’s what it took to earn her trust.

Not only did she sign up for service but she also gave us her credit card number to reserve a spot on the route. Admittedly, she told us that she never gives her credit card number out to anybody but apparently she trusted us enough, even though we had only known her for 15 minutes, that she was willing to give us her card number.

A simple question was all it took to have a meaningful conversation and shed the cloak of a stereotypical salesperson.