By John Chapin
In theory, sales is pretty simple: Communicate the right way with the right people, and sales will be made. It’s in practice that most people complicate the issue.
So how can it be kept simple?
Assuming it is a sale where the salesperson and customer must interact for a length of time, it is critical that the salesperson gets several points across: that he or she cares, is trustworthy, understands the problem, and is competent and can solve the problem.
That said, effective communication begins with mindset. First, the salesperson must be completely sold on and have confidence in the product, the company, and him- or herself. Next, the salesperson must have empathy for the people he or she is selling to and must put them first—before the company, the product, the sale, and even before him- or herself. The salesperson who enters the sales conversation with confidence, caring, and compassion, putting the other person’s needs first, is off to a good start.
Next is preparation. Know the product and the competition; know how to identify the needs, wants, and desires of the prospect; know how to present product solutions and answers to objections; and know how to close.
Once in the proper mindset and prepared to sell, here 20 more communication rules to follow:
No. 1: Be honest and authentic. Keep promises. Then go one more step and go above and beyond, doing more than promised.
No. 2: Agree with people. Never argue or debate. Rarely will a salesperson get anywhere by beginning a conversation by disagreeing with someone. When there is push back, most people dig in their heels even further. Start by agreeing, let the other person be right, build some rapport, and then start to shift the conversation.
No. 3: Listen well. The better a salesperson listens, the more others will like him or her because most people are not listened to during the day. Especially on initial calls, be listening far more than speaking (about 70 to 80% of the time). Take notes if necessary and make sure to hear what is being said. Read between the lines and wait five seconds after someone is done talking before speaking.
No. 4: The most important part of communication is the mindset of the audience. What is going through the other person’s brain? What is he or she thinking? If the customer thinks it’s green and the salesperson thinks it’s red, that salesperson better figure out why the customer thinks it’s green and how to educate that person as to why it’s actually red.
No. 5: Focus on the other person and what he or she is interested in. Why should that person listen—or care? Use “you” versus “I” language and ask good questions to find out what’s important to them.
No. 6: Always speak in benefits. Never give a feature without the resulting benefit. Again, what does the feature mean to the customer? How does it save them time, money, effort, energy, headaches, or make his or her life better?
No. 7: Be extremely responsive and answer client/prospect communications as quickly as possible. Also answer calls and e-mails at night and on the weekends.
No. 8: Everything affects communication and how people hear each other. Salespeople are judged on what they wear, how they speak, the cars they drive, the pens they use, and everything else that the senses can pick up.
Rule 9: Make sure body language, facial expressions, eye movements, tone of voice, and words match the point being made. Most of communication is non-verbal.
No. 10: Don’t use industry-speak, jargon, acronyms, or words the other person is not familiar with.
No. 11: Speak intelligently about products and services. If the answer to a question in unknown, be honest, and then follow up with an answer as quickly as possible.
No. 12: Deliver important communication in person and don’t delegate it.
No. 13: Document communication when necessary.
No. 14: Be scripted and know exactly what to say in each and every prospect and client situation. Salespeople need to role play and practice their scripts constantly with others and themselves.
No. 15: In most cases too much communication is better than not enough.
No. 16: Don’t wait to communicate. When there is a potential issue, the more time passes, the worse the situation usually gets.
No. 17: Always follow an e-mail with a phone call or text message (whichever medium the person prefers) and sometimes a physical mailing. Never assume an e-mail was seen.
No. 18: Communicate based upon facts, not assumptions. Clear up assumptions by asking questions.
No. 19: Communicate based upon facts, not opinions. ”It’s cold in the room” is an opinion. “It’s 65 degrees” is a fact in that it can be proven to be either true or false. Trouble starts when people start to argue opinions such as religion and politics as facts, that’s when we end up in wars.
No. 20: No negative talk. Customers don’t want to hear about bad traffic or the latest bad news on the radio. Keep customer interactions positive and upbeat. People like to do business with positive people.
Chapin is an award-winning speaker, trainer, and coach and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclopedia.” Find him at completeselling.com.Tagged with sales