Most of you know how important Effective Communication impacts Your Results. I utilized an entire chapter in my book Three Games of Selling to this most important element in sales and leadership.
There are Seven Tips for Being Clear in Your Communication with Customers. Without this clarity, you can create issues and concerns for the customer which can ultimately cost you sales. Your Success depends heavily upon your ability to communicate exactly what you mean to say and the customer actually gets your meaning completely.
Here are the Seven Tips for Making Yourself Clear in Communications…
- Accurately access others experience and knowledge level
Never assume you have the answers all the time. Take time to access situations and consequences of actions & inaction. Help the customer to totally understand their situation. Gaining insight into their level of experience and applied knowledge helps you to accurately address the correct points and issues of importance. Another way of thinking about this – knowing this information allows you to clearly put your information and questions into the proper context for each customer. One size does not fit all – be flexible depending upon who you are speaking with in the business.
- No Manipulation Allowed – just the Honest Truth
This is the primary source of why sales people have been branding with poor reputations. The tricky and deceptive types are usually only short-term winners and quickly become losers when the customer finds out they were taken advantage of in a deal or communication. Open and honest communication is the best method to use. A side benefit is – you will likely remember the truth whereas the manipulators of the world have to remember all the falsehoods they have shared with customers – leading to failure at some point. Take the high road and have a mindset of helpfulness to your customer. They will pick up on your genuine desire to improve their situations. Also, avoid the pushy or dominating style used by many old school sales people. The buyers will resist this today – they want to buy rather than be sold anything.
- Use Emotion in your Dialogue
This is for you “logical & practical” types of B2B Sales People. Your customer is a person rather than a title or company. These are the decision makers and influences to your sales success. Find out their personal objectives and goals, their personal win. When you discover what they really want – and it is personal reasons rather than business reasons – you can then show them how you will help them achieve their personal goals. To get to these personal agendas, you will need to use emotional items – like stories, case studies, success stories with others, and both aspirational and problem solving solutions. Use a little drama to gain attention. It is better to use vivid illustrations in your dialogue which allows the customer to step into the situation and see themselves taking action to get the results they desire.
- Share Your Experiences
Being real in your dialogue with customers since you are likely a human being – just like the customer. ? Share your experiences and even show you have made mistakes in the past which makes you human. Perfectionist can seldom admit to imperfection and come off as arrogant or a know it all. In fact, sometimes it is really good to use what is known as a “pattern interrupt.” This is where you say something unexpected like – “this solution is not for everyone, so I don’t know it it will work for you.” This is unusual as most sales people are sunshine pumpers and they claim their solutions are for everyone! This actually works quite effectively in gaining the attention of the customer who are going through the motions until you break their thought pattern.
- Set an Objective for Each Exchange
Always have an objective in mind for any contact with a customer or potential customer. Winging it is dangerous and usually very wasteful to your time and especially the customer’s time. By knowing your goal for the communication, you can prepare with appropriate stories and success examples for the customer. Planning your outcome keeps you focused during the conversation upon the customer and their exact words and phrases. Then you can refer to their objectives as you connect the dots with your objectives. This is leading to a win-win situation.
- Listen for Meta Talk
Interestingly, most sales people are missing valuable clues presented by the customer in every communication. This is missing clue is called “meta talk.” It is all about the missing statements relative to content, timing, purpose and agendas. These are the underlying messages being communicated by your customer (and your company’s executives and peers). Most b2b sales people are only taking the exact words in statements and are missing the real communication messages being shared. Use your experience and knowledge as you listen to statements – what is missing, what is being assumed, what is being stated between the lines in the message? These are all examples of meta talk and it is a learn-able skill. The best communicators use this skill as their competitive advantage – and you can too. There are books and articles on how to use meta talk in your communication and listening skills.
- Think in terms of application of facts and statistics
The most boring and usually average b2b sales people are the ones who only state the research, data facts or statistics to the customer. Then expect the customer to figure out how to use the information. The Sales Superstars are masters of the statement “what this means to you is…”. They are thinking in terms of application or how to use this information in the customer’s business. This insight is what the customer is looking for everyday. And, once they find the sales person who delivers application and how to do things – the customer becomes very loyal to the b2b sales person. They even begin to think of the b2b sales person as an adviser to the customer rather than the other terms used like “vendor, supplier, sales person.” You will know when you hit this status as your customer will begin to contact you for advice on projects or issues they are having. Try it – you will enjoy the results!
There you have an overview to maintaining open communication for your customers or clients. Think about how important it is for complete understanding of all your important points and potential issues to uncover for discussion. This is Your Responsibility to Drive Clarity. Be clear in your purpose and meaning and you will win more than your competitors.
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