Last time we started talking about the keys to effective communication and why these keys are so vital for successful salespeople. Let’s continue looking at some more of the keys.
- Be empathetic: Salespeople must understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy is the understanding of what someone else is feeling; sympathy is feeling what they are feeling. For example, if a customer says an item is too expensive, the empathetic response would be, “Yes, things are expensive today.” A sympathetic response would be, “Yes, it is expensive, isn’t it terrible.” It’s important for a salesperson to understand where their customers are coming from, but you don’t want to feel sorry for them. If you feel sorry for them, then you run the risk of losing a sale.
- Keep it simple: Make sure you are communicating with your customers using easy to understand terms and phrases. Stay away from words or phrases that would only be known by you or others in your field. This might confuse or distract your customer from the task at hand. Use your words to inform and express your thoughts. Most people won’t stop and ask what you mean if they don’t understand, they will just simply move on and you have lost a potential sale.
- Respond: In my opinion this is the most important key in communication. Make sure your customer knows that you are listening and paying attention by responding to what they are saying. It can be a direct response of even a non-verbal acknowledgement that you are listening and engaged in what they are telling you. Most people just want to know they are being heard, making sure they are by responding at the appropriate times. If you know you have to respond, then it forces you to LISTEN.
- Never pre-qualify: Pre-qualifying is a huge communication mistake that is made by too many salespeople. It shouldn’t matter if they look like they can afford whatever the product is, can’t speak clearly or just don’t look like a typical customer, they still deserve your full attention. Many, too many to count, sales are lost because salespeople think they know what a customer is thinking, or what they can afford. If any customer is interested in what you are selling, then they deserve your full attention.
Remember this, every customer is different and while these keys are great as a guideline, the way you communicate with Jack is going to be different from the way you communicate with Sue. We will continue with more keys next time.
To review the previous installments of this series, visit Part I, Part III, and Part IV.