The Way to Use Softening Statement to Get Your Prospect to Talk

Michele Warg
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A carefully crafted and delivered script can help you make the most out of the time you spend on the phone with a prospect. It is important, however, to use softening statements to break up the script, to dispel any wooden effect and to ensure your prospect stays interested. The best customer service tactics place a great emphasis on personal service, and softening statements can help you connect to the consumers you serve.

Many salespeople cringe at the thought of using a script because they fear they'll sound scripted on the phone and lose customers as a result. There are compelling reasons to use a script, however. Scripts can help you remember important conversational elements and facts about the products you're selling. If you craft the script to suit your natural vocal cadence, you might find it an aid, rather than an inhibiting prop.

As the term might imply, softening statements are designed to make you sound more approachable and natural. When you insert softening statements at appropriate moments, you create a tailor-made approach to the exchange and draw the customer into the conversation. When customers feel personally involved in calls, rather than subjected to the whims of a script, they tend to open up and relax. They feel happier, and you sell more product.

A collection of effective softening statements can be a major addition to your arsenal of sales tactics. They work well when you open the call as well as when you try to close a sale. Keep your statements and questions succinct and polite to let your customers know that you mean to help them but that you don't want to take up more of their valuable time than necessary.

Imagine you're trying to sell a car insurance policy. Use open questions such as, "Can I ask what you are currently paying for your insurance?" to gain information, and then use the answer to craft a personalized response. When customers tell you their names, address them by name to encourage a rapport. Statements like, "I know you're busy, so I'll be as quick as I can" let customers know you respect the time they have available.

Call-closing softening statements might include things like, "You've been so patient, and I've given you so much information to digest. Can you tell me which way you're leaning?" or, "Can you let me know what the deciding factors might be?"

Essentially, softening statements need to sound as natural as possible to be effective. Imagine you're speaking to a family member or friend, and then transpose that ambiance onto the conversation with your client.

Softening statements can help you build rapport with your customers, whether you're in the sales department or the customer service department. When you use softening statements to break up your script and add dimension to your calls, you'll notice immediate results, and you might even gain a little extra job satisfaction.

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