7 Skills for Successful Sales Communication
First – Know your buyer
To make a sale, you must become one with the buyer… Now before you burn some incense and take up the sitar, we’re talking about communication here. A sales pitch isn’t just about firing off a bunch of talking points and then hoping they’ll sign on the dotted line. You can’t get to the bottom of your customers’ needs if you’re not able to properly communicate. Not even the best sales pitch in the world can come through if you and your clients are on different pages. Luckily we’re here to help; take a look at these 7 skills for successful sales communication:
1.) Be an active listener
Effective sales communication begins with proper listening. If your customer is talking and, all the while, you are just waiting for your chance to speak, you won’t fully take in what he/she is saying. You won’t know which solutions will work best for the client and you’ll probably end up taking the conversation in the wrong direction. This is your opportunity to figure out why this client came to you. Asking pertinent follow-up questions is a great way to ensure you and your client are on the same page. Take notes on everything the client says — even things that seem insignificant now might have relevance later.
2.) Understand body language and use it to your advantage
Body language is a silent form of communication that many people fail to recognize. People give off subtle cues when they’re feeling a particular way. For example, people commonly cross their arms when they’re feeling uncomfortable as a way to close themselves off. Learning to pick up on these non-verbal cues can help you pivot to a more effective sales technique before possibly losing the client. Deciphering this unspoken information can help you get a leg up on your competition.
3.) Pick up on the nuances of voice tone
Similar to body language, your speaking delivery – speed, tone, word choice, volume, etc can drastically affect how your words are perceived. And if you’re, let’s say, on a sales call, your voice is all your client has to work with. One technique that will make you appear more trustworthy is to match the way the prospect is speaking. You don’t have to imitate every single thing he/she does, but slightly adjusting your voice to meet the client’s volume or speaking speed can put the buyer at ease; it’s all about being on the same level as your client.
4.) Don’t jump to conclusions
A sure-fire way to lose customers quickly is to assume you know what they want better than they do. Allow your prospective customers to explain their situation before you start giving your sales pitch. Listen to your customers fully, and don’t make false assumptions. If you state something wrong and force the client to correct you, it could cause an underlying wave of mistrust that will eventually spoil the entire relationship.
5.) Honesty is the best policy
The backbone of effective sales communication is always honesty. Be up-front about important items that may be of interest to the buyer, such as any hidden charges or fees that could slip under the radar easily. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and open with your customer. Tell them that you’ll do some quick research and follow-up with an answer promptly. Never take a guess.
6.) Practice empathy
Another key skill for sales and marketing is being able to see from a prospective customer’s point of view. Clients are more likely to interact with brands that they feel are on their side. Not only will it make you appear more understanding and down-to-Earth, but it can help you find the solution to your client’s problems. Which solutions would you be looking for if you were in your client’s situation? Recognize the daily challenges that buyers face. How can those stressors be alleviated?
7.) Be an expert in your field
This should be a no-brainer: know what you’re talking about. Absorb content from your industry like a sponge. No matter which field you work in, the dynamics are constantly changing. New techniques, concepts, and trends are coming through all the time. You need to be well-educated on the matters of your industry. Need a refresher? Attend a conference, read a blog, start a blog or network with like-minded individuals. There’s always something new to learn. Don’t just be a “pro”, become an industry thought-leader.
Like many aspects of sales, communication takes investment, but it could very well be the difference between closing and losing. Take the time to understand your clients and speak their language.