A small office building could probably be filled with all of the books available on improving sales communication. While it may be a topic that has gotten a lot of press, I can assure you that when it comes to sales professionals, there’s still a lot of room for improvement by the vast majority.
You might think that talking and listening is quite basic and elementary. But let me tell you that it isn’t. If it was, there would be more sales pros hitting those top numbers. Sadly, it isn’t.
To be successful in sales, you, as the professional salesperson must master three major components of communication:
1. Listening to customers, including watching for body language
2. Questioning and listening to find out what they want and what their concerns are
3. Establishing the connection between their needs and your products and services
Number one deals with really getting to know your customer. Are they being ‘polite’ and just listening for no reason? What are they really saying? What is their body language? Are they crossing their arms? Are they leaning in? Are they interacting? Are they not? Communication is what is spoken and also what is unspoken.
Number two is all about the customer. What do they want? What’s going on in their world? What do they really need? When you really listen and ask questions to seek first to understand your customers’ concerns and issues, then, and only then do you get the chance to sell. It’s not about muscling your way through the door and then blurting out your presentation as fast as you can. It’s about building a relationship that will pay you over and over again.
Finally, number three is about building a bridge between the customer and your company (and yourself). It’s about building upon a strong foundation of trust and earned respect. At this point, you aren’t just pitching a product and hoping it will stick, you are tying the needs to your prospective customer to what your company provides or offers. It is also about not pitching something that will not serve the prospect. Often, walking away from a sales opportunity will act like a boomerang to get another opportunity when that prospect refers you to another company that may be a better fit. Never be afraid of walking away from a deal that will not ultimately serve your prospective customer.
Sales communications begin with you, but it is not all about you. Sales communication is about hearing your customer. What is the customer’s biggest concern and fear? How can you help? You are there to begin to understand how that customer may be served by you and your company and to earn that opportunity. If you get this piece right, you will master one of the most important pieces of the sales pro puzzle.
Debbie Mrazek is the founder and principal of The Sales Company (www.the-sales-company.com), a sales acceleration company dedicated to entrepreneurs. Get Debbie’s Special Report, How To Hit The Sales Sweet Spot for Bigger Profits at www.the-sales-company.com and learn more about her new book at www.thefieldguidetosales.com.