6 Keys to Effective Communication
Communication could easily be considered one of the most important aspects of sales. Salespeople are asked to connect with new clients on a daily basis but it takes time to build trust and familiarity with a new audience. Especially if you're trying to sell a new product or service.
It's estimated that we connect with only about 20% of people as soon as we meet them.1 For the rest of our interactions, it takes time and effort to find common ground and an understanding of each other. With the correct approach to communication, any determined individual can thrive in the sales field.
It's important to note that communication is more than just our words, emails or texts. It's about our body language, our responsiveness and our ability to understand others. Communication is a two-way street and everyone involved has a role in communicating effectively and clearly. Here are six things to keep in mind when you're communicating professionally:
It's appropriate for this one to headline the list. Listen to your clients and be receptive to any questions or concerns. This is bound to put your knowledge to the test, but clients are much more likely to buy from a salesperson that understands their product or service and is willing to open up honestly about it. Remember also that listening is worthless if you don't understand what's being said, so be sure you're on the same page with your audience.
Stay true to yourself.
Building rapport with clients comes naturally for some, but for others it's not as easy. Both types of people can be incredibly successful in sales as long as they remain true to themselves. A salesperson who isn't a natural rapport-builder sounds uncomfortable and awkward trying to be something they aren't. There's no need to act - just bring the best version of yourself to every presentation and you'll excel in no time.
Body language says it all.
You could argue our body language sends a stronger message than our words ever could. When presenting to a new client, stand tall and keep your hands to your sides. Leave a great first and last impression with a solid handshake and always make eye contact. These are the non-verbal actions that could make the difference between a sale made and a sale lost.
Study your client.
Go into every presentation with a strong understanding of the business you're presenting to. Advertising sales, for example, is a field that interacts with businesses across every industry. Since every unique business takes advantage of advertising to help their bottom line, salespeople have to be ready to present pitches to any and every type of company imaginable. This'll require some extra homework, but you'll feel more prepared and it'll pay off in sales.
Keep things simple.
It's tempting to slip fancy jargon into the conversation to sound more professional or knowledgeable, but the best way to connect with people is to speak like them. Leave out the unnecessary language and break things down the simplest way you can. Don't risk the effectiveness of your message.
Responsiveness is such an impactful piece of communication. Taking a week to respond to an email or a missed call, no matter how busy you've been, doesn't look good in the eyes of someone you're trying to do business with. Show off those time management skills by replying to your messages as quickly as possible. Even a quick follow up explaining your hectic schedule will go a long way in the eyes of your clients.
Communication is about the details. Our written and spoken messages play a huge role in this, but the less recognized aspects of communication send the strongest message. Becoming an expert communicator requires taking notice of details. Avoid any missed sales opportunities or arguments that happen because of preventable miscommunications. Pay attention to the details and watch your communication skills grow. It won't only pay off in your personal relationships, but it'll also help you succeed as a salesperson and entrepreneur.
1. Dave Mattson. "Why Better Communication Skills Lead to More Sales Success." Sandler Training (blog). Accessed June 20, 2019. https://www.sandler.com/blog/why-better-communication-skills-lead-more-sales-success