Posts Tagged ‘sales communication’

Reframing Your Sales Conversations to Feel, Know, Do and Remember

How many sales conversations leave you confused, wondering what was just said?  Maybe others may feel the same way about your interactions?

sales-conversations

Credit www.gratisography.com

Imagine for a moment if you would embrace just these four words – Feel, Know, Do and Remember – into ALL interaction with your sales leads to professional colleagues to centers of influence. What changes would you experience?

FEEL

No one likes sales pitches.  The reason is because they stir up negative feelings.

In sales, you want positive feelings because positive feelings begin to build trust and a sense of being comfortable, of knowing you. Sales Coaching Tip: People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

KNOW

You also want to demonstrate your own expertise. Not in a way that your ego takes up the entire room.  No, with a little more subtlety. Your sales leads and others want to feel and then know you know the:

  • Industry
  • Marketplace
  • Current trends

DO

You want some “do” action to take place after the sales conversation.  This could be:

  • Having the individual commit to receiving something of value such as an article or a link via email, etc.
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Connecting on LinkedIn
  • Making a sales referral

REMEMBER

After each sales conversation, you want the other person to remember you because you have differentiated yourself. To be remembered suggests:

  • You have truly engaged the other person because you have worked with her or his feelings
  • You have imparted knowing
  • You have directly or indirectly implied some “doing” action

Now this remembering may happen after the initial meeting because you initiated some follow-up such as sending a personal handwritten note or because of your “doing” action as noted previously.

Sales Coaching Tip:  You may have to engage in more than one “Remember” action.

Sales conversations are becoming a dime a dozen especially this time of year when salespeople are scrambling to make those “dreaded” quotas.  By embracing the “feel,” “know,” “do” and “remember” verbs and reframing your sales communication, just may help you to be different, to be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

P.S. When you change your words, you will improve your sales results!

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Sales Communication – Selling to the High D & High C

Many people in sales have either heard or have taken the DISC Index profile. This is one of the best tools to understand and apply sales communication behaviors. The assessments reveals how you communicate; how others perceive your communication and how you can leverage that knowledge to increase sales.

sales-communication

I am a high D (at the top) as well as a higher C (above the norm). Both of these scores reflect how I communicate.  The high D is very decisive while a higher C tends to follow the rules and is more analytical.

For me this translates as someone who is very literal.  I do not make presumptions about anything I read or hear during a sales conversation. Facts are important to me and small talk is not my thing. Yet I am still very much focused on the results of the solution being presented.

Many buying decision makers are high Ds.  They tend to be more assertive and challenging. One of the more common characteristics is those with high Ds do not like to waste time.

Now the high C presents some different characteristics including don’t rush the buying decision making process. A high C will want to evaluate the sales conversation.

The combination of a high D and a high C creates a more task focused individual and less people oriented.  This individual maybe more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Also remember the D buyer is looking for results while the C buyer is seeking information. Neither one of them like to be pushed.

Learning the characteristics of the behaviors associated with the DISC Index profile can dramatically improve sales communication. Of course, people are multi-dimensional and one assessment short changes the complexity of individuals. This is why I recommend two other psychometric assessments:

  • The Values Index – Understanding what people value in other words what motivates them
  • The Attribute Index – Understanding how people make decisions, their temperaments and 78 core talents.

If you are interested in learning how to improve your sales communication, give me a call at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time. I will be happy to answer your questions.

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Riding the Magical Mystery Tour of Sales Conversations

Sometimes in our sales conversations we become unfortunately robotic or conditioned to what we expect to hear or want to hear.  This  conditioned behavior is natural and can be unfortunately disastrous to our end game.

sales-conversationsEach communication interchange between you and a suspect, prospect, qualified prospect or your ideal customer needs to be fresh and very much like the words of Paul McCartney and John Lennon where it is a magical mystery tour “waiting to take you away.”

Of course in your mind, there should be some desired end result of any sales communication. This end result is dependent upon where you are in your sales process.

Yet, there is something almost magical and mysterious when we do not know each step of those sales conversations.  Having a sales dialogue can indeed become a mystery because the focus is on building the relationship first while discovering those “wants and needs” second.

What is also a magical mystery tour in our sales conversations is the last words in this famous song:

The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away
Dying to take you away, take you today

Over the years I cannot count the number of times in my sales conversations, the other person made some remark about finally someone heard what he or she was saying.  These individuals were dying to be heard, but because previous salespeople had preconceived ideas about the individual, the company, the industry, etc., their words were never heard.

Possibly this is why my sales communication style is to restate what I have heard to ensure I captured the essence of what the other person was saying. The benefit of this communication behavior is the other person knows I am actively listening and truly concerned about what he or she is saying.  If the sales conversation is in the selling phase of the sales process, some might call this sales behavior as “mini-closes.”

When we approach sales conversations with an attitude of more mystery and less “I know what this is going to be,” we open up new sales opportunities.  And better yet, we in many instances unexpectedly learn from these exchanges.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Taking the Sales Process into Your Daily Conversations

Have you ever considered taking your sales process into your daily business conversations?

sales processIf you did take such action, do you believe you would have better results as you move through the sales process?

Most businesses have a sales process.  This is a methodology to attract qualified ideal customers through the marketing, selling and keeping actions thereby increasing small business growth as well as profitability.

The majority of sales processes start with an introduction to attract attention. When we transfer this first step to a conversation it may start with “Good morning” to “Is this a good time to talk?” There must exist some type of opening remarks  however brief those remarks may be.

Then the next step within the sales process is about stating the purpose of the call. If this was an actual sales conversation, the emphasis might be on fact finding.  Within a daily business conversation, this step might identify the current problem.

Step three is about overcoming stalls and objections to the purpose (if any) and then securing agreement. Some sort of resolution must take place otherwise why did you initiate the business conversation?

The fourth and final step is closing the loop of the sales communication.  This closing also serves another purpose within the sales process of keeping loyal customers. Closing remarks could be “Thank you for your time” to “I’ll check back with you tomorrow.”  Additionally, closing comments could be a quick synopsis of the conversation to ensure 100% agreement between both conversing parties.

To recap here are the four steps for efficient and effective sales communication:

  1. Introduction or opening
  2. Stating purpose of call
  3. Securing agreement by overcoming any objections
  4. Closing

What makes these four steps so practical is they reaffirm the existing sales process and hence this is nothing new to any salesperson.  Additionally, the salesperson has quick mental checklist to ensure the sales communication achieves the desired result as well as discovering why the conversation did not achieve the desired result.  Finally, the consistency in applying these four steps works to further build and strengthen the business relationship.

P.S. This is the 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS I have been using for the last 20 plus years.  You may find it beneficial.

 

 

 

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Crystal Clear Sales Communication Supports Sales Team Success

Sales communication must be clear, crystal clear if a sales team or an individual salesperson desires sales success. Yet, between the egos, the uncooperative culture, the misalignment and fear, communication only becomes more cloudy and less clear.

sales-teamFor example, an executive sales coaching client recently shared with me the following:

Her boss left for vacation and just before he left sent her an email to send a sales forecast report to his second in command.  This report was requested by her boss’s boss.  As she is new to this organization and this particular document was never discussed nor were there any samples, she reached out to the second in command via a phone call and an email requesting specifics. This individual never responded.

Then she reached out to her boss’s boss and he said contact the second in command. Another phone call was placed and another email.  Again, no response. Now the deadline has come and gone and because of no returned  communication she is let holding the proverbial trick bag.

I suggested her to send an email to her boss’s boss and cc her boss and the second in command as follows:

My apologies for not submitting this sales forecast report on time. As per your and my boss’s instructions, I reached out to the contact person two separate times (via telephone and emails) to learn what the format (Word, Excel or other) for this report was as well as the expected data content.  He has never responded.

As soon as he responds, I will do my very best to complete your request.

The purpose of this communication was to ensure that she understood the importance of completing this task and that her failure to complete was due a lack of communication. Yet all of these phone calls and emails were completely unnecessary if her direct boss and the second in command actually demonstrated effective leadership by being proactive and providing clarity specific to this sales forecast report.

Knowing there was a new sales team member, the boss and the second n command should have communicated the format not too mention the particulars.  A sales forecast report means different things to different companies. In some case it means actual sales recorded (provided only hard numbers)  in other cases it includes submitted proposals, works in progress proposals and projected revenue from existing pipeline.

Sales management must not only manage, but lead its sales team to sales success. This means removing as many obstacles preventing sales success.  Unclear communication is an obstacle, a significant impediment.

Clarity of communication turns those foggy, unclear communications into doable exchanges where all involved can achieve a win and reduce costly wasted time with all the voice mails and emails.

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Just Shut Your Teeth to Increase Sales

Thousands of years ago, Epictetus said “Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”  Now one would think that listening, even better active listening, would be one of the primary sales skills sets taught within the plethora of sales training coaching programs if the goal was to increase sales. Yet active listening is still not a valued as a primary sales skill set. Just look at the content devoted to asking questions, overcoming sales objections to “closing the deal” versus active listening.

increase-sales

In Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell Is Human, he shared an experience working in some  “improv acting”  lessons to improve his listening skills. One of the activities was to wait 15 seconds with direct eye contact before responding. Sales Training Coaching Tip: I recommend this book To Sell Is Human and for me it has become one of my top 10 sales books especially if you want to increase sales.

Depending upon the research, effective listening comprises anywhere from 40 to 50% of our daily time. Yet being social creatures we truly want to talk more than to listen. Even where we are not talking we are thinking about how to respond instead of actively listening to the other person. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The human brain is not designed to multitask. By preparing to respond, the quality of your listening has significantly declined.

And that being prepared to respond is rub in the sales communication process. When we are focused on what we are going to say, we have already engaged our filters to hear what we want to hear based upon what we have heard in the past. This is where our belief we can “sell value” trips us up. Our “value response” potentially ignores what is actually being said because of our past conditioning.

To increase sales begins with silence reinforced with active listening. In one of my favorite movies,l The 13th Warrior, the central character is told to “shut your teeth.”  Maybe this should be the first, middle and last title of a mandated course for all sales people?

On Thursday April 4, 2013 from 12-12:30pm, this free webinar Only April Fool’s Sell on Value may provide some additional insight on how to increase sales.

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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Evaluating What Is Said

Within the United States, the Presidential and Vice President debates have brought a direct focus on this sales leadership talent of evaluating what is said. In fact hours of programming have been devoted to fact checking, analyzing non-verbal body language and securing immediate emotional reactions.

sales-communication

Credit www.sxc.hu

This talent is essentially about a “person’s openness to people and their willingness to hear what the other person is saying, and not what they think they should say, or are going to say.” Additionally there exists the capacity to positively appreciate “other people and their opinions.” Finally inherent within this sales leadership talent of evaluating what is said is a “positive approach to problem solving, being open to whatever solution may present as the most effective, depending on the situation.” (Source Innermetrix)

Those who positively demonstrate this capacity be them sales people, those in sales management roles or other support staff  “will be able to objectively evaluate feedback and ‘hear’ the concerns, intentions or opinions being stated, as opposed to inserting their own feelings or opinions.” (Source Innermetrix) Sales Training Coaching Tip:  This sales leadership talent does sound similar to emotional intelligence. The difference is emotional intelligence works with this sales leadership talent.

Individuals who are not as strong in the demonstration of this talent of evaluating what is said may “result in a person subjectively perceiving what they want based on pre-judged opinions or preset ideas as to what they ‘think’ is happening.” (Source Innermetrix)

If we believe that sales is the transference of feelings (Zig Ziglar), then sales communication is the sharing of those feelings both verbally and non-verbally. Having this sales leadership talent of evaluating what is said is critical to that sharing and building those relationships with your ideal customer profile, existing customers to centers of influence.

P.S. In sales communication, there exists a separate language that can bring even greater clarity of this talent of evaluating what is said.  On Thursday November 1, 2012 from 12-12:30pm Chicago (cst), this FREE webinar “If you are telling, you ain’t selling” will explore that sales communication language through the DISC tool. Learn more about these business and sales webinars.

 

 

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Maybe You Are Too Personal Too Soon in Your Sales Communication

Sales is a personal experience if we believe as Zig Ziglar said “Sales is the transference of feelings.”

Credit www.sxc.hu

Yet that emotional transference of feelings happens in stages and to jump to quick or to presume the personal relationship is solid may be one reason for the inability to increase sales.

A posting over at LinkedIn asked the following question specific to sales communication:

“You are at an exhibition stand, a visitor approaches and you are only allowed to ask one question to him/her? What would it be?”

There were many good answers and some of then were indeed situational. One that caught my eye was this response:

“Mr. or Ms. prospect, if you could change one thing in your business today, what would it be and why? “

What caught my eye was the word “Why.”

This word, “Why,” is very personal in nature.  Sometimes I have watched sales people and small business owners engaged in sales communication at business to business networking events using this word with newly met professionals to actual prospects.  A negative emotional reaction is usually present from a slight shift in body language to a major defensive reaction.

There are other words to get the same answer, but this requires using a few more words and demonstrating emotional intelligence within the sales communication process.

The reason people use the “Why” word is to get as they say to the prospect’s pain.  This helps the salesperson qualify the person in front of them and there is nothing wrong in qualifying folks.

What may not make sense is to use a word that may disqualify you.

Probably it makes more sense to communicate using the word “Why” after you know and have confirmation that the relationship with the potential customer or prospect is solid.  In some cases, you still may be required to ask permission when using the “Why” word.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Even with my executive coaching clients, I still ask permission to ask a significant question.

By remembering people first buy from people they know and trust, you may wish to consider investing just a little more time in your sales communication for your potential buyers to trust you before you spring the “Why” question on them.

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